Personnel supporting Federal health care programs are a resource critical to the Federal COVID-19 pandemic response efforts. Health care facilities must be prepared for potential personnel shortages and must have plans and processes in place to mitigate these shortages to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and future pandemics. The PRAC will coordinate a review of four Federal health care programs to determine whether these programs, or the providers they reimburse, experienced shortages in health care personnel during the pandemic, the impact of those health care personnel shortages, and strategies used by the Departments to reduce shortages of health care personnel for future pandemics.
The purpose of the audit is to determine whether Federal Student Aid has adequate processes (1) for students who withdrew because of the coronavirus pandemic, to waive the return of Title IV (R2T4) requirements, cancel Direct Loans received during the payment period, and exclude Pell Grants received during the payment period from Federal Pell lifetime usage; and (2) for schools to report the number and amounts of R2T4 waivers applied.
The objective of our review is to determine the Department’s progress on spending program administration funds authorized by coronavirus response and relief laws, including how those funds have been used to date and the Department’s plans for using remaining funds.
University of Cincinnati’s Use of Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund Student Aid and Institutional Grants
The OIG is conducting an audit of the Office on Violence Against Women’s Grant Administration due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. The preliminary objectives are to assess: (1) the grant administration and monitoring during the pandemic and (2) the guidance and assistance provided to grant recipients for addressing any increased risks to effective program implementation and to violence against women.
Audit of the State of Michigan’s Administration of the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund (GEER) Grant
Determine whether Michigan designed and implemented (1) awarding processes that ensured that the GEER grant was used to support local educational agencies (LEAs) and institutions of higher education (IHEs) that were most significantly impacted by the coronavirus or LEAs, IHEs, or other education-related entities within the State that were deemed essential for carrying out emergency educational services, and (2) monitoring processes to ensure that subgrantees used GEER grant funds in accordance with the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and other applicable Federal requirements.
Federal agencies were allocated more than $5 trillion in pandemic response funding to be disbursed to the public and to state and local governments, where a state or local government could have received pandemic response funds from multiple federal programs to improve the overall pandemic response in their communities. Access to information about the total amount of funds received, the purpose of those funds, and the progress made toward achieving the program goals and objectives is not always centralized and can be difficult for the public to track down or may not even be available to the public. The PRAC will conduct impact case studies at 6 different locations and seek to identify the federal pandemic response funds provided to the 6 locations and the purpose of those funds, and to determine if the federal program spending aligned with the intended goals and objectives. The 6 locations identified for this project include: Springfield, Massachusetts; Coeur d’Alene, Idaho; Marion County, Georgia; Sheridan County, Nebraska; White Earth Indian Nation, Minnesota; and Jicarilla Apache Nation, New Mexico.
Review of Local Educational Agencies’ Use of Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Funds for Technology
The review will cover selected LEAs’ experience with purchasing technology to continue students’ instruction as schools closed and reopened in response to the Coronavirus pandemic. The review will include a survey to obtain information regarding the types of technology purchased, the impact the technology had on student learning, and the challenges LEAs faced related to the purchase and maintenance of that technology.
The CARES Act requires that the PRAC conduct and coordinate oversight of covered funds and the Coronavirus response and support Inspectors General in the oversight of covered funds and the Coronavirus response. The purpose of this review is to assess the resources (staffing, training, IT, oversight, and resources overall) available to the acquisition and grants workforce in their implementation of contracts and grants funded with COVID-19 response funds. The resulting report will meet the requirements outlined in the CARES Act and present an assessment of information obtained during the data call, including any trends, best practices, or challenges.