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​Federal Government Debarment and Suspensions

34 C.F.R. Part 85

Date of Issue: July 1, 1999
Date of Review: June 30, 2004
Replaces: Federal Government Debarment and Suspensions, BEC 34 C.F.R. Part 85, issued September 1, 1997


This BEC alerts school entities to their responsibilities under the federal regulations regarding government-wide debarment and suspension. The regulations took effect on October 1, 1988 and are set forth at 34 C.F.R. Part 85. The regulations are intended to implement federal government policy to conduct business only with responsible persons.


Under the regulations, persons or entities that have committed fraud or other similar offenses may be excluded from contracting with the federal government. Those who desire to contract with the federal government must certify that they are not debarred or suspended (excluded) from entering into such contracts. The regulations apply to all Commonwealth agencies that receive federal funds and to all entities that receive federal funds under subgrants or subgrants from Commonwealth agencies.

The regulations provide generally that persons or entities that are debarred or suspended "shall be excluded from Federal financial and nonfinancial assistance and benefits under Federal programs and activities." 34 C.F.R. Section 85.100(a). Cases for debarment or suspension include conviction for fraud, antitrust violations, embezzlement, bribery, falsification of records, or other similar offenses; violation of the terms of a public agreement or transaction so serious as to affect the integrity of the program; failure to pay substantial debts owed to any Federal agency; or knowingly doing business with a debarred, suspended, ineligible, or voluntarily excluded person. See 34 C.R.F. Section 85.305.


School entities have the following responsibilities under the regulations:

  1. Each application or other proposal to participate in a federally- funded transaction must include the certification form that the U.S. Department of Education has provided. 34 C.R.F. Section 85.510(b) (1). A copy of the form is attached to this BEC.

    The form calls for certification that neither the applicant (whether school district, intermediate unit, area vocational- technical school, or other school entity) nor its principals are presently debarred, suspended, or voluntarily excluded from participation in the transaction by any Federal department or agency.

  2. In order to submit the certification, the school entity must determine the eligibility of their "principals" to participate in federally-funded transactions. "Principals" are "key" employees, those with "primary management or supervisory responsibilities" or those who have a "critical influence on" or "substantive control" over covered transactions. 34 C.F.R. Section 85.105.

    The regulations leave to the school entity's discretion the method and frequency with which the eligibility of your principals is determined. 34 C.R.F. Section 85.510(b) (2). The U.S. General Services Administration maintains and distributes a "List of Parties Excluded from Federal Procurement or Nonprocurement Programs." The regulations do not require checking this list. The list is available from:

    Superintendent of Documents
    U.S. Government Printing Office
    Washington, D.C. 20402
    Phone: (202) 783-3238

  3. The school entity must provide immediate written notice to PDE if it learns that certification was erroneous when submitted or has become erroneous because of changed circumstances. 34 C.F.R. Section 85.510(c).

  4. With any further subgrant or subcontract of the federal funds, the school entity must obtain the same certification form from the subcontractor. A school entity must not knowingly enter into any such transaction with a person who is debarred, suspended, declared ineligible, or voluntarily excluded from participation in federal transactions. 34 C.F.R. Pt. 85, App. B.

    To implement this federal requirement, PDE will attach the required certification form to all applications and requests for proposals for federally funded programs. These include program applications, EHA applications, applications for vocational education funds, and others. Ensure that the certification form is signed before returning the application or proposal. If the school entity participates in numerous federal programs, please contact the Division of Student and School Services, to discuss alternative arrangements to signing a new certification with each application.


Federal Regulations

34 C.R.F. Section 85.100(a)
34 C.R.F. Section 85.105
34 C.R.F. Section 85.305
34 C.R.F. Section 85.510(b) and (c)
34 C.R.F. Section App. B.


Certification Regarding Debarment, Suspension, Ineligibility and Voluntary Exclusion

Bureau/Office Contact

Pennsylvania Department of Education
School Services Unit
333 Market Street
Harrisburg, PA 17126-0333
Phone: (717) 783-3750