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Department of Education OIG

Review of State Plans for Use of Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Funds

The objectives of our review were to review States’ initial 45-day GEER Fund reports to determine how States plan to allocate funds to entities within the three authorized categories: local educational agencies (LEA), institutions of higher education (IHE), and education-related entities, and the criteria upon which these decisions were based; and review GEER Fund annual reports to identify changes to and progress made from the initial plans in the 45-day reports. We found that within the three authorized entity categories, 45 States (87 percent) planned to allocate GEER funds to LEAs, 39...

Pandemic Response Accountability Committee

Key Insights: State Pandemic Unemployment Insurance Programs

This insights report provides a contextual understanding of the cross-cutting challenges states faced within their unemployment insurance (UI) programs and highlights the substantial work that has been done by State Auditors to ensure their states’ UI programs are functioning effectively. This report examines four common insights across 16 State Auditor Offices: (1) UI workloads surged for states; (2) the claims surge exploited internal control weaknesses; (3) uncommon and varying fraud schemes began to occur as the amount of federal funding expanded; and (4) state workforce agencies...

Pandemic Response Accountability Committee

Increasing Transparency into COVID-19 Spending

The objective of this review was to identify specific gaps in transparency in award data for federal assistance spending in response to COVID-19. We looked at 51,000 awards worth $347 billion that supported the pandemic response (as of June 15, 2021). The report includes three findings, including we found more than 15,400 awards worth $33 billion with meaningless descriptions that make it difficult to know how COVID-19 relief money was used. The report includes five recommendations to help improve the transparency into COVID-19 relief spending.

Department of Education OIG

Remington College’s Use of Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund Student Aid and Institutional Grants

The objective of our audit was to determine if Remington College used the Student Aid (Assistance Listing Number (ALN) 84.425E) and Institutional (ALN 84.425F) portions of its Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) grant funds for allowable and intended purposes. Remington College generally used the Student Aid portion of its HEERF grant funds for allowable and intended purposes but did not always use the Institutional portion of its funds in accordance with Federal requirements. We found that Remington College spent Institutional funds for several unallowable purposes and did not...

Department of Education OIG

Lincoln College of Technology’s Use of Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund Student Aid and Institutional Grants

The objective of our audit was to determine whether Lincoln College of Technology (Lincoln) used the Student Aid (Assistance Listing Number (ALN) 84.425E) and Institutional (ALN 84.425F) portions of its Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) funds for allowable and intended purposes. We also reviewed Lincoln’s cash management practices and the timeliness and quality of the data Lincoln reported on its use of HEERF funds. LESC generally used the Student Aid portion of Lincoln’s HEERF funds for allowable and intended purposes but did not always use the Institutional portion of its funds...

Department of Education OIG

Inconsistent Grantee and Subgrantee Reporting of Education Stabilization Fund Subprograms in the Federal Audit Clearinghouse

The purpose of this flash report is to share with the U.S. Department of Education (Department) observations made by the Office of Inspector General (OIG) concerning grantees and subgrantees inconsistently reporting audit data on Department subprograms, or unique components of a program, to the Federal Audit Clearinghouse (FAC), the designated repository of single audit data. We found that grantees and subgrantees are not consistently reporting expenditures of Education Stabilization Fund (ESF) subprogram awards in the FAC. Specifically, when entering Federal award information into the Data...

Pandemic Response Accountability Committee

Observations: Fiscal Year 2020 COVID-19 Federal Contracting

The PRAC’s objective was to review pandemic-related federal contracts and identify first-time contractors and contracts awarded without competitive bidding. We found that first-time federal contractors received $4.4 billion worth of pandemic contracts in Fiscal Year 2020 and that $128 million was deobligated from contracts with first-time federal contractors during the same period. Additionally, we identified the four most common flexibilities identified to justify limited competition were urgency, only one source, simplified acquisition procedures, and authorized by statute. Of these, we...

Department of Education OIG

Fraud Reporting Requirements for Federal Program Participants and Auditors

This guide summarizes the fraud reporting requirements most relevant to entities receiving pandemic relief funds and auditors of those entities.

Department of Education OIG

Federal Student Aid’s Suspension of Involuntary Collection in Response to the Coronavirus Pandemic

The objective of our review was to evaluate the results of Federal Student Aid’s (FSA) process for suspending involuntary collection and refunding payments involuntarily collected on defaulted Department-held loans in response to the Coronavirus pandemic. We found that FSA suspended administrative wage garnishments and the U.S. Department of Treasury (Treasury) offsets for over 96 percent of the borrowers that FSA collected payments for within 90 days of March 13, 2020, the start of the suspension period. However, as of October 23, 2020, we found that FSA continued to receive administrative...

Department of Education OIG

Risk of Closed Institutions of Higher Education Receiving Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund Grants

The purpose of this report is to share with the U.S. Department of Education (Department) observations made by the Office of Inspector General (OIG) concerning institutions of higher education (IHE) that ceased to provide educational instruction in all programs of study (closed) and received or had access to coronavirus response and relief aid through the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF). We found that 17 IHEs that closed on or before December 31, 2020, applied for and were awarded a total of $4,912,675 of HEERF grants by OPE. Of these 17 IHEs, 14 drew down HEERF funds and 3 did...