Education Paperwork Requirements Are Burdensome:

Better Federal Controls Needed

GGD-82-28: Published: May 26, 1982. Publicly Released: May 26, 1982.

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GAO reviewed the Department of Education and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) implemention of specific legislation designed to reduce the education-related Federal paperwork burden.

Education needs to better control Federal education-related paperwork by improving the effectiveness and efficiency of its review process and by fully implementing legislation designed to reduce such paperwork. OMB needs to more effectively carry out its paperwork control oversight responsibilities by coordinating closely with Education and providing appropriate guidance. The Secretary of Education needs to reactivate the Federal Education Data Acquisition Council. Routine education-related information requests have been imposed on the public which have not been approved and publicly announced as required by law. Education has not developed the required automated indexing system for cataloging information and identifying redundant collection requests. Current actions to reactivate and update the existing system should be deferred until feasibility and cost studies of alternative approaches have been conducted. By allowing both OMB and other agencies to determine if specific requests were subject to the education amendments' review and approval provisions, inconsistencies have occurred and some education-related requests have not been identified and reviewed by Education. Further, Education has not provided adequate oversight information to Congress on its activities, and the agency's paperwork review process should be more efficient and effective. Education's authority to review other agencies' education-related information requests is unnecessary and should be eliminated.

Matter for Congressional Consideration

  1. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: This problem has been corrected by the: (1) Paperwork Reduction Act of 1980; (2) revised SF 83; and (3) revised OMB Circular A-40. Further, despite staff briefings on this issue, Congress has taken no action on this issue.

    Matter: Congress should amend the Control of Paperwork Amendments of 1978 to limit Education's review and coordination authority to Education information collection requests.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Education should take steps to implement the education amendments' requirements including such provisions as reports to Congress, procedures for submitting required information to a single agency, and establishment of uniform reporting dates.

    Agency Affected: Department of Education

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Education should strengthen and streamline Education's review operations by consolidating the forms required to process information collection requests and formalize guidelines for conducting information collection request reviews.

    Agency Affected: Department of Education

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Education should achieve further burden reduction by ensuring that, except under urgent or very unusual circumstances, education-related requests are not imposed on respondents unless they have been approved and publicly announced by February 15 preceding the new school year and by identifying and eliminating unauthorized forms.

    Agency Affected: Department of Education

  4. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Education should work with OMB in developing efficient coordinating procedures for reviewing education-related requests and ensuring that Education has the major role of identifying such requests as directed by the education amendments of 1978.

    Agency Affected: Department of Education

  5. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Director of OMB should provide direction for the review and approval of education-related information collection requests, as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1980, by issuing official guidance on proper coordinating procedures between Education and OMB.

    Agency Affected: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget

  6. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Education should coordinate with OMB its development of the Federal Information Locator System to ensure that Education and OMB do not develop redundant systems and consider the OMB system as one alternative for meeting Education's legal requirement for an automated indexing system.

    Agency Affected: Department of Education

  7. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Education should conduct feasibility and cost analyses of various automated indexing system alternatives before updating and expanding the existing system or converting it to another computer language.

    Agency Affected: Department of Education

  8. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Education should analyze the completed studies to select the best alternative, comprehensively plan for implementing this alternative, and then develop and use an effective automated indexing system.

    Agency Affected: Department of Education

  9. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Education should reactivate the Federal Data Acquisition Council and ensure that it meets regularly and performs its duties as required by law.

    Agency Affected: Department of Education

 

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