An Analysis of Concerns in Federal Education Programs:

Duplication of Services and Administrative Costs

HRD-80-18: Published: Apr 30, 1980. Publicly Released: Apr 30, 1980.

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Concern has been expressed that federal elementary and secondary education programs duplicate services to students and unnecessarily add to federal, state, and local administrative costs. Legislation has been proposed to reduce the number of programs through consolidation. To provide Congress insight into these problems and the possible impact of consolidating programs, the regulations, requirements, and services provided to students under federal education programs were analyzed. Eleven federal education programs administered by the Office of Education, Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW) and their implementation in 36 local education agencies in six states were reviewed.

Despite providing similar services under two or more federal and/or state programs, some local agencies have structured their programs so that duplication of services to students was minimal. Data were not available on the amount of overall administrative costs added because of the number of federal programs. However, federal, state, and local education agencies were spending significant amounts on administration. However, state and local education officials could not readily identify specific examples of such additional costs. Consolidation did not appear to be needed to deal with duplicate services to students. Questions concerning the extent that consolidating programs would reduce administrative costs and whether consolidation would jeopardize the level of services targeted to specific groups remain unresolved. Through the Education Amendments of 1978, Congress changed several federal programs which serve elementary and secondary students to foster a closer coordination between the numerous programs that exist. The full impact of these changes will not be known until they are implemented in fiscal year 1980.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of HEW should assist Congress, as it deliberates whether or not to consolidate federal education programs, by providing Congress data on how such proposals will specifically reduce administrative costs and/or improve program implementation. The Secretary should also provide Congress information on what consequences could result from implementing consolidation proposals.

    Agency Affected:


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