About the Program
Frequently Asked Questions
The questions below reflect those that schools, educational nonprofit organizations, and agencies have been asking and the answers the General Services Administration (GSA) has been providing.
1. Who is eligible to receive computer equipment through the CFL program?
Schools and educational nonprofit organizations located in the United States, the U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, or the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, can receive computer equipment through the CFL Program. A school is eligible to participate if it is a public, private, or parochial school serving some portion of the pre-kindergarten through grade 12 population. Day care centers must provide a state approved preschool curriculum in order to participate.
An educational nonprofit organization must meet four criteria in order to participate. First, it must serve some portion of the pre-kindergarten through grade 12 population. Second, it must give evidence of its nonprofit status by being tax exempt under section 501(c) of the U.S. tax code. Third, it must operate primarily for the purpose of education. If an educational nonprofit organization is "riding" on the 501(c) certification of a parent organization, the parent organization must meet these criteria. Fourth, it must be approved, accredited, or licensed.
2. Who pays for shipping and handling of the computers?
Generally, the school or educational nonprofit organization must pay for the shipping and handling of the computers. Unless the holding agency has special legislative authority to pay for the cost(s) associated with the transportation of the excess computer equipment including packing and delivery, and they agree to do so, the school or educational nonprofit organization must pay for these costs. If your School/Organization does not take possession of the excess computer equipment in the amount of time allotted by the owning agency, they may withdraw the offer.
3. How is an Educational Nonprofit organization considered eligible?
The statutory definition of "Nonprofit institution" that applies to the law authorizing the Executive Order does not mention eligibility under the Property Act. However 15 U.S.C 3703 states that a nonprofit institution means "an organization owned and operated exclusively for scientific or educational purposes, no part of the net earnings of which profits the benefit of any private shareholder or individual." Hence EO 12999 does expressly require that community based organizations meet the eligibility requirement of the Property Act surplus donation program.
4. Who is eligible to transfer computer equipment through the CFL program?
Executive Order 12999 requires executive agencies to participate in the CFL program to the extent permitted by law, and where appropriate. The legislative and judicial branches are encouraged to participate whenever possible.
5. How does the Executive Order relate to Title 40 USC - the re-codification of the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act of 1949, as amended (the Property Act)?
Executive Order 12999 provides an authority in addition to the requirement of Title 40 USC. Although Executive Order 12999, through Title 15 USC 3710 authorizes Federal agencies to direct transfer excess computer equipment to schools, it also authorizes Federal agencies to transfer surplus computers to State Agencies for Surplus Property (SASP) through the Federal Surplus Personal Property Donation Program authorized by 40 USC 549. Also, in accordance with 40 USC, as with other Government-owned property, Federal computer equipment must first be offered to other activities within an agency before being determined that the equipment is excess to that agency.
6. Do schools and educational nonprofit organizations pay for excess computer equipment they acquire through the CFL program?
No. Schools and educational nonprofit organizations do not pay for excess computer equipment they receive through the CFL program. Title 15 USC and EO 12999 are silent on the issue of packing, shipping, and transportation. Accordingly, the decision on who is responsible for shipping and transportation costs is left to the discretion of the holding agency.
7. Are third party recyclers, refurbishers or nonprofit refurbishers eligible to receive computers/computer equipment under EO 12999.?
No. Title to the computer equipment must pass from an agency to a school or educational nonprofit organization. Though the FMR is not the direct guidance for the Executive Order, the Property Act does not allow transfer of federal property to be directly given to the aforementioned. Under EO 12999, computer equipment may be directly transferred to a school or educational nonprofit. If the agency does not wish to transfer excess equipment under EO 12999, it must then be reported to GSA.
8. What kind of computer equipment should agencies transfer to schools and educational nonprofit organizations?
The Executive Order defines "educationally useful federal equipment" as computers (Windows based PCs and Apples) and related peripheral equipment. Computer software is also included where software vendors permit the transfer of licenses [Executive Order Section 4]. Agencies and private sector companies need to check with each software vendor or licensor for permission to transfer specific software. However, operating systems are a component of a computer's hard drive and should remain with the computers. Also, note that computer equipment availability varies.
9. What if the computer equipment is not picked up through the CFL Program?
When an agency has determined that no school or educational nonprofit has need for the excess computer equipment, the agency's equipment will directly transfer to GSAXcess(R). The excess computer equipment will then be available to other federal agencies and State Agencies for Surplus Property (SASP) through the surplus property donation program. At this point, schools may not receive preferential consideration by law because the Property Act requires donation to all eligible recipients by fair and equitable means.
10. What if computer equipment needs repair or upgrading?
The Executive Order encourages the use of nonprofit computer reuse or recycling programs to repair and upgrade computers. However, title to the computer equipment must pass from an agency to a school or education nonprofit organization. Title to the computer equipment may not be transferred to computer reuse or recycling programs. Some recyclers refurbish computers themselves; others teach students how to refurbish them for use in their own school districts. Many recyclers can also assist with teacher training, mentoring, and computer maintenance.
11. Who owns the property after it has been transferred to a school or educational nonprofit?
When an agency direct transfers a computer to a school or educational nonprofit activity under 15 USC, the holding federal agency releases Government ownership of the computer and the recipient activity gains title to the property upon receipt. When an agency transfers a computer to a school or educational nonprofit activity under 40 USC, the educational activity has conditional title to the property until use restrictions are met (which usually involves a one-year period of restriction).
12. How can agencies determine which schools and educational nonprofit organizations need computers?
The CFL GSAXcess® website facilitates the implementation of EO 12999. Federal agencies report their excess computer equipment to GSAXcess®. Educational institutions then register on GSAXcess® to search and request computers they need through use of a virtual shopping cart and checkout process. GSAXcess® then sends an email notification to the holding agency of the educational institutions' interest in acquiring the excess computers. GSAXcess® also provides a screen that allows the reporting activity to view all of the schools and educational nonprofits that have requested their excess computers immediately after the request is made. This screen is used by the reporting activity to allocate and transfer the excess computers in the system to the requesting educational organization.
A Federal Agency that has established a partnership arrangement with school(s) in their vicinity should help those schools register on the CFL GSAXcess® website.
Agencies must verify the eligibility of all schools and educational nonprofit organizations that receive excess computer equipment through the CFL GSAXcess® website.
13. Is there a limit to how much excess computer equipment an agency may transfer to a school or educational nonprofit organization?
No. However, agencies are required to ensure the fair and equitable distribution of excess computer equipment on a national level.
14. Does GSA ever take physical custody of excess computer equipment in the CFL program?
Generally, agencies retain physical custody of excess computer equipment in the CFL program. Under special circumstances, GSA may take custody or may direct excess computer equipment to schools or educational nonprofit organizations, under agreement with the holding agency.
15. May agencies withdraw excess computer equipment reported to GSA for the CFL program?
No. Agencies may only withdraw excess personal property from the disposal process to satisfy an internal agency requirement.
16. What is the policy regarding federal employees volunteering in schools?
Agencies are encouraged to consult with unions and other appropriate employee organizations to develop means by which employees may volunteer their time in support of the CFL program.
The federal personnel system provides considerable flexibility in scheduling leave and hours of work. Within mission constraints, agencies are encouraged to make use of these flexibilities to grant leave or approve Alternative Work Schedules so that employees may volunteer their time as provided in Section 3 of the Executive Order.
In certain circumstances, agencies may use their authority to grant excused absences (administrative leave) for this purpose. Note, however, that an employee is not a "volunteer" if he or she is on salary while performing these services. Employees may be granted brief periods of excused absence when such functions are: (1) directly related to the agency's mission, (2) officially sponsored or sanctioned by the head of the agency, or (3) beneficial to the professional development or skills of the employee in his or her current position. Direct your questions on these and related matters to the appropriate servicing personnel office.
17. How should agencies account for computers that they have transferred to schools and educational nonprofit organizations?
Agency personal property managers should maintain records in accordance with internal agency procedures. Within 90 days of the end of each fiscal year, agencies report to GSA excess property provided to nonfederal recipients -- such as schools and educational nonprofit organizations. This report (interagency report control number 0154-GSA-AN) should list computer equipment by type, by component or system, quantity, original acquisition cost, fair market value and provide totals. Identify the recipient by name, city, and state. If all agency transactions are conducted via the CFL website, GSAXcess® will automatically generate the CFL portion of your report.