• Appropriations Law Training

      GAO’s Principles of Appropriations Law course acquaints participants with the purposes and principles of federal fiscal law. It blends lecture, case studies, and student participation in a way that engages and challenges participants, while maximizing the exchange of both practical and theoretical information.

    • Appropriations Law Decisions

      GAO’s Office of General Counsel issues decisions and opinions on appropriations law. Learn more >


  • GAO's Principles of Appropriations Law Course

    GAO attorneys teach the Principles of Appropriations Law (PAL) course at (1) GAO headquarters for two open enrollment classes each fiscal year and (2) other federal agencies for contracted group classes about a dozen times each fiscal year. The class is two and a half days; class runs from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on days 1 and 2 and from 8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. on day 3. Participants receive a manual with course notes and exercises. A course outline is below.

    Open enrollment training is held at the GAO building. These classes are held primarily for GAO employees; however, we allot 10 to 15 seats per class for non-GAO federal participants. If the open enrollment courses are full, you can request to be placed on the waiting list.

    We also schedule group training for federal agencies upon request. These classes are based on instructor availability. Recent attendees include staff from the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development; the Library of Congress; U.S. Marshals Service; and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

  • Registration

    Tuition for the course is paid through the IPAC (wire transfer) system or Pay.gov (if paying by credit card). All participants must complete an interagency agreement form to process the payment. Registration is not complete until GAO receives the completed interagency form. PLEASE NOTE THAT ALL PAYMENT PROCESSING WILL BE COMPLETED AFTER THE TRAINING. Your agency will receive billing instructions after course completion. We will not accept advance payments. Please do not attempt to pay for training in advance using Pay.gov, or through the IPAC system, as these payments will be returned to your agency through our finance office.

    Please e-mail PALCourse@gao.gov to register for an open enrollment or group course. Please include your desired class date and contact information in your e-mail.

    The cost for individuals is $450. The cost for groups is $4000 (and additional costs apply for groups taught outside the Washington, D.C. area). All participants must complete an interagency agreement form. Tuition for the course is paid through the IPAC system or via government credit card.

  • FY 2015 Open Enrollment Schedule

    We have two classes scheduled at GAO in fiscal year 2015:

    • April 14-16, 2015 with registration starting March 2, 2015
    • August 19-21, 2015 with registration starting on July 6, 2015
  • Course Outline

    1. Introduction to Appropriations Law
      1. Constitution and Major Statutes
      2. Annual Budget and Appropriations Process
      3. Budget Execution and Control
      4. Apportionment and Allotment
      5. Obligating and Disbursing Funds
      6. Impoundment
    2. Terminology and Classification
    3. Statutory Construction
    4. Availability of Appropriations: Purpose
      1. Purpose Three-Step Analysis
      2. Necessary Expense Rule
      3. Statutory Purpose Restrictions
      4. Other Available Appropriations
    5. Availability of Appropriations: Amount
      1. Antideficiency Act: Provisions, Exceptions, Sanctions and Applications
      2. Rules Against Augmentation, and the Miscellaneous Receipts Act
    6. Availability of Appropriations: Time
      1. General Rule
      2. Bona Fide Needs Rule
      3. Prohibition on Advanced Payments
      4. Account Closing Law
    7. Obligation of Appropriations
    8. Interagency Transactions