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Press Releases: Government to Citizen

September 5, 2006

GSA Contract Helps Veterans Get Education Benefits

Washington D.C. - The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) has awarded a contract task order under its USA Services’ FirstContact program valued at $24.7 million to Pearson Government Solutions of Arlington, Virginia, to assist veterans eligible for education benefits.

Pearson will train customer service representatives at its state-of-the-art telephone call center in Richmond, Virginia to assist veterans who have an interest in pursuing a college degree, enrolling in vocational programs, receiving on-the-job or apprenticeship training and more. This will be accomplished by providing information about the various education and training programs administered by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) Veterans Benefits Administration.

"There is certainly no more deserving group than our veterans," said Lurita Doan, GSA Administrator, "and we look forward to supporting the VA in making educational benefits available to them. This task order award reflects GSA’s commitment on that score and, in general, to the concept of offering services that make the government more responsive and accessible to citizens."

Overall, the VA receives on average 2.5 million telephone and electronic inquiries per year, with the heaviest volume occurring during the fall and spring. Of these queries, questions about education include the status of payments and education claims, verification of enrollment, applying for education benefits and more. With the award of this task order, the VA will be able to more quickly and efficiently respond to their customers.

FirstContact, developed under USA Services as a Presidential E-Gov initiative, offers a full range of contact center services to federal agencies. It focuses solely on contact center management services, such as telephone and e-mail inquiries, and makes it possible for agencies to very quickly make cost-effective awards. USA Services also provides other services, such as its award-winning Citizen Services Cost Calculator and Procurement Tool Kit that helps Federal customers with their procurement documentation and speeds FirstContact contract awards. FirstContact is managed by GSA’s Office of Citizen Services and Communications. For more information about FirstContact, visit

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