§ 124.304What are the procedures for early graduation and termination?
(a)General. The same procedures apply to both early graduation and termination of Participants from the 8(a) BD program.
(b)Letter of Intent to Terminate or Graduate Early. When SBA believes that a Participant should be terminated or graduated prior to the expiration of its program term, SBA will notify the concern in writing. The Letter of Intent to Terminate or Graduate Early will set forth the specific facts and reasons for SBA's findings, and will notify the concern that it has 30 days from the date it receives the letter to submit a written response to SBA explaining why the proposed ground(s) should not justify termination or early graduation.
(c)Recommendation and decision. Following the 30-day response period, the Assistant Administrator for DPCE (AA/DPCE) or designee will consider the proposed early graduation or termination and any information submitted in response by the concern. Upon determining that early graduation or termination is not warranted, the AA/DPCE or designee will notify the Participant in writing. If early graduation or termination appears warranted, the AA/DPCE will make such a recommendation to the AA/BD, who will then make a decision whether to early graduate or terminate the concern. SBA will act in a timely manner in processing early graduation and termination actions.
(d)Notice requirements. Upon deciding that early graduation or termination is warranted, the AA/BD will issue a Notice of Early Graduation or Termination. The Notice will set forth the specific facts and reasons for the decision, and will advise the concern that it may appeal the decision in accordance with the provisions of part 134 of this title.
(e)Appeal to OHA. Procedures governing appeals of early graduation or termination to SBA's OHA are set forth in part 134. If a Participant does not appeal a Notification of Early Graduation or Termination within 45 days after the Participant receives the Notification, the decision of the AA/BD is the final agency decision effective on the date the appeal right expired.
(f)Effect or early graduation or termination.
(1) After the effective date of early graduation or termination, a Participant is no longer eligible to receive any 8(a) BD program assistance. However, such concern is obligated to complete previously awarded 8(a) contracts, including any priced options which may be exercised.
(2) When SBA early graduates or terminates a firm from the 8(a) BD program, the firm will generally not qualify as an SDB for future procurement actions. If the firm believes that it does qualify as an SDB and seeks to certify itself as an SDB, as part of its SDB certification the firm must identify:
(i) That it has been early graduated or terminated;
(ii) The statutory or regulatory authority that qualifies the firm for SDB status; and
(iii) Where applicable, the circumstances that have changed since the early graduation or termination or that do not prevent it from qualifying as an SDB.
(3) Where a concern certifies that it qualifies as an SDB pursuant to paragraph (f)(2) of the section, the procuring activity contracting officer may protest the SDB status of the firm to SBA pursuant to § 124.1010 where questions regarding the firm's SDB status remain.