VA's Program To Authorize Courses for Veterans Needs Improved Management

IMTEC-84-6: Published: Oct 20, 1983. Publicly Released: Oct 20, 1983.

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GAO reviewed the Veterans Administration's (VA) and State Approval Agencies' (SAA's) collection and use of information about the education of veterans to determine how well VA and SAA's coordinate their efforts to minimize their reporting and recordkeeping requirements and how effectively they manage the program. In addition, GAO evaluated how VA collects and uses SAA-related information in accordance with the policies and procedures established by the Paperwork Reduction Act.

For the past 5 years, VA has been paying SAA's about $13.4 million annually while program activity, national enrollment, the number of schools involved, and the annual VA payments to veterans have declined more than 40 percent. Program activities will continue to decline through 1989 when a major portion of the program will be terminated. To help VA streamline program activities in response to this trend, GAO identified several areas where VA can maintain or improve services while reducing the amount spent on approval activities each year.

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 Administrator of Veterans Affairs should review all the unapproved reporting and recordkeeping requirements GAO identified and ensure that they are either submitted to OMB for approval or discontinued.

    Agency Affected: Veterans Administration

  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 Administrator of Veterans Affairs should establish adequate controls for identifying all unapproved VA reporting and recordkeeping requirements, including those developed and used by VA regional offices, and have them approved by OMB.

    Agency Affected: Veterans Administration

  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 Administrator of Veterans Affairs should require VA regional offices to ensure that the SAA's understand VA reporting instructions and submit accurate reports.

    Agency Affected: Veterans Administration

  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 Administrator of Veterans Affairs should require the VA regional offices to notify the SAA's of planned VA school and training establishment visits and ensure that they not visit these same schools for supervisory purposes unless VA requests a follow-up visit.

    Agency Affected: Veterans Administration

  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 Administrator of Veterans Affairs should establish necessary controls to effectively monitor SAA contractual performance so that the SAA's comply with contract provisions and visit only appropriate schools.

    Agency Affected: Veterans Administration

  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 Administrator of Veterans Affairs should ensure that the amount of future SAA contracts is reduced in proportion to the reduction in VA education program activity occurring since 1978.

    Agency Affected: Veterans Administration

  7. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: VA concurs with the first three parts of this recommendation. During the next year, it will examine this area of VA and SAA operations to determine if implementation of the fourth part would benefit the approval, supervisory, compliance process and increase efficiency.

    Recommendation: The Administrator of Veterans Affairs should revise VA contracts with SAA's to ensure that SAA's: (1) are not paid for preliminary visits to schools that have been in operation for less than 2 years unless the SAA's provide documentation fully justifying the need for each such visit; (2) make supervisory visits only to active schools and training establishments with enrolled veterans; (3) are limited to one annual supervisory visit to individual schools and training establishments unless VA directs otherwise; and (4) are required not to visit the same schools and training establishments being visited by VA during its compliance surveys.

    Agency Affected: Veterans Administration

  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 Administrator of Veterans Affairs should revise the disposition requirements for the three education-related files that GAO identified in the VA records control schedule to ensure that they are clear, consistent, and realistic. Once revised, VA should follow the revised records control schedule.

    Agency Affected: Veterans Administration

 

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