Reports & Testimonies

  • GAO’s recommendations database contains report recommendations that still need to be addressed.

    GAO’s recommendations help congressional and agency leaders prepare for appropriations and oversight activities, as well as help improve government operations. Recommendations remain open until they are designated as Closed-implemented or Closed-not implemented. You can explore open recommendations by searching or browsing.

    GAO's priority recommendations are those that we believe warrant priority attention. We sent letters to the heads of key departments and agencies, urging them to continue focusing on these issues. These recommendations are labeled as such. You can find priority recommendations by searching or browsing our open recommendations below, or through our mobile app.

  • Browse Open Recommendations

    Explore priority recommendations by subject terms or browse by federal agency

    Search Open Recommendations

    Search for a specific priority recommendation by word or phrase



  • Governing on the go?

    Our Priorities for Policy Makers app makes it easier for leaders to search our recommendations on the go.

    See the November 10th Press Release


  • Have a Question about a Recommendation?

    • For questions about a specific recommendation, contact the person or office listed with the recommendation.
    • For general information about recommendations, contact GAO's Audit Policy and Quality Assurance office at (202) 512-6100 or apqa@gao.gov.
  • « Back to Results List Sort by   

    Results:

    Subject Term: "Financial assistance"

    8 publications with a total of 40 open recommendations including 3 priority recommendations
    Director: Beryl H. Davis
    Phone: (202) 512-2623

    11 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve the design of internal controls over the indirect cost rate-setting process, the Director of CAS should develop a standardized checklist and document procedures in its internal guidance instructing negotiators to use the checklist during negotiation.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services: Division of Cost Allocation
    Status: Open

    Comments: HHS concurred with this recommendation. In response, HHS stated that its Cost Allocation Services (CAS) will update and complete standardized checklists and that staff will be instructed to use these checklists by December 31, 2016. We are currently reviewing support received from HHS to determine if we can close the recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve the design of internal controls over the indirect cost rate-setting process, the Director of CAS should develop detailed internal guidance for the completion and documentation of supervisory review of the indirect cost rate negotiation process to provide reasonable assurance that key control activities have been performed by the negotiators.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services: Division of Cost Allocation
    Status: Open

    Comments: HHS concurred with this recommendation. In response, HHS stated that by December 31, 2016, its Cost Allocation Services (CAS) will establish a document outlining standardized review procedures for supervisory review of workpapers and rate agreements. We are currently reviewing support received from HHS to determine if we can close the recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve the design of internal controls over the indirect cost rate-setting process, the Director of CAS should develop internal guidance for negotiating indirect cost rates with all types of research organizations, including hospitals, as well as universities using the simplified method.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services: Division of Cost Allocation
    Status: Open

    Comments: HHS concurred with this recommendation. In response, HHS stated that its Cost Allocation Services (CAS) will update internal guidance for negotiating indirect cost rates with universities using the simplified method by December 31, 2016. This guidance will include an example under the two types of direct cost bases, a salary and wage base and a modified total direct cost base. CAS will develop internal guidance for negotiating with hospitals as soon as possible. We are currently reviewing support received from HHS to determine if we can close the recommendation.
    Recommendation: As NIH-DFAS begins formalizing its internal guidance, the Director of NIH-DFAS should update internal guidance to include key characteristics, such as policy number, purpose of the policy, effective date, and approving official, that are normally included in formal policy and procedures.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services: Public Health Service: National Institutes of Health: Office of Management: Office of Acquisition and Logistics Management: Office of Acquisition Management and Policy: Division of Financial Advisory Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: HHS concurred with this recommendation. In response, HHS stated that by December 31, 2016, National Institute of Health's Division of Financial Advisory Services (DFAS) will update internal guidance to include key characteristics that are normally included in formal policy and procedures. NIH-DFAS has finalized three of the five polices, which are effective as of July 1, 2017. The remaining two policies will be finalized by August 31st, 2017. We will continue to monitor the status of this recommendation.
    Recommendation: As NIH-DFAS begins formalizing its internal guidance, the Director of NIH-DFAS should develop detailed procedures for the completion and documentation of supervisory review of the indirect cost rate negotiation process to provide reasonable assurance that key control activities have been performed by the negotiator.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services: Public Health Service: National Institutes of Health: Office of Management: Office of Acquisition and Logistics Management: Office of Acquisition Management and Policy: Division of Financial Advisory Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: HHS concurred with this recommendation. In response, HHS stated that the National Institute of Health's Division of Financial Advisory Services (DFAS), will develop detailed procedures for the completion and documentation of supervisory review of the indirect cost rate negotiations process. NIH-DFAS has developed draft internal guidance to address the supervisory review of the indirect cost negotiation process. NIH-DFAS plans to finalize these procedures by August 31, 2017. We will continue to monitor the status of this recommendation.
    Recommendation: As NIH-DFAS begins formalizing its internal guidance, the Director of NIH-DFAS should establish a mechanism for tracking key milestones in the indirect cost rate-setting process, such as when indirect cost rate proposals are due.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services: Public Health Service: National Institutes of Health: Office of Management: Office of Acquisition and Logistics Management: Office of Acquisition Management and Policy: Division of Financial Advisory Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: HHS concurred with this recommendations. In response, HHS stated that National Institute of Health's Division of Financial Advisory Services (DFAS) will establish a mechanism for tracking key milestones in the indirect cost rate-setting process. NIH-DFAS has initiatives underway that include moving from paper to electronic submissions of indirect cost proposals and developing a replacement to its Commercial Rate Agreement Distribution Services website. DFAS is looking into the feasibility of incorporating key milestones into these two major initiatives. NIH-DFAS is currently working with a contractor to develop a web based system that will establish a tracking system to account for when indirect cost proposal are due from organizations. The original initiative to enable the electronic submission of indirect cost proposals was modified to incorporate this new requirement. NIH-DFAS anticipates the planned date for implementation of this system to be October 1, 2017. We will continue to monitor the status of this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve the design of internal controls over the indirect cost rate-setting process, the Director of ONR should implement the May 2014 policy requiring an annual review of guidance so that internal guidance is updated when changes are made to applicable regulations and procedures to reasonably assure that the guidance reflects current requirements.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Department of the Navy: Office of Naval Research
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD concurred with this recommendation. In response, DOD stated that the Office of Naval Research (ONR) will comply with its requirement for an annual review of its internal policy on negotiating indirect costs. As of June 15, 2017, no updated information has been provided by the Department of Defense. We will continue to monitor the status of this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve the design of internal controls over the indirect cost rate-setting process, the Director of ONR should include in its internal guidance acceptable Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA) audit completion time frames and identify supplemental procedures to be performed by negotiators if DCAA cannot perform its audits timely or if DCAA issues a qualified opinion or rescinds one of its previously issued audit opinions, to reasonably assure that the indirect cost rate proposal has been adequately reviewed and the negotiated rate complies with applicable regulations.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Department of the Navy: Office of Naval Research
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD concurred with this recommendation. In response, DOD stated that the Office of Naval Research's (ONR) internal guidance will be updated to provide more realistic audit report due dates and will include general procedures to be performed by negotiators in the case of untimely audits, qualified opinions, or rescinded opinions. As of June 15, 2017, no updated information has been provided by the Department of Defense. We will continue to monitor the status of this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve the design of internal controls over the indirect cost rate-setting process, the Director of ONR should develop detailed procedures for the completion and documentation of supervisory review of the indirect cost rate negotiation process to provide reasonable assurance that required certifications and assurances are obtained and follow-up with the research organization is documented.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Department of the Navy: Office of Naval Research
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD partially concurred with this recommendation. DOD did not agree that the Office of Naval Research (ONR) lacks procedures to ensure supervisors confirm that negotiators adequately performed and documented key controls. DOD noted that both the primary and secondary supervisors are required to review and approve the Business Clearance Memorandum, which records steps performed by the negotiator. While we agree that the Business Clearance Memorandum documents steps performed by the negotiator, these steps are documented at a high level and do not include detailed procedures for supervisors to follow to reasonably assure that the negotiator has performed and documented all key control activities, such as obtaining all required certifications and assurances. DOD agreed in its response that ONR's Business Clearance Memorandum can be improved and stated that ONR will update it to require the negotiator to cross-reference the review steps to the proposal to facilitate the supervisor's review process. However, it is not clear whether the planned Business Clearance Memorandum revisions will include providing detailed procedures for supervisory review as we recommended. As of June 15, 2017, no updated information has been provided by the Department of Defense. We will continue to monitor the status of this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve the design of internal controls over the indirect cost rate-setting process, the Director of ONR should finalize and issue internal guidance for negotiating indirect cost rates with universities and nonprofit organizations, including establishing a time frame for issuance of the internal guidance, to help ensure that the procedures are implemented in a timely manner.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Department of the Navy: Office of Naval Research
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD concurred with this recommendation. In response, DOD stated that the Office of Naval Research (ONR) is currently updating its internal guidance and currently plans to issue this guidance by December 31, 2016. As of June 15, 2017, no updated information has been provided by the Department of Defense. We will continue to monitor the status of this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve the design of internal controls over the indirect cost rate-setting process, the Director of ONR should update ONR's existing process for tracking key milestones in the indirect cost rate-setting process to include information such as when indirect cost rate proposals are overdue and when DCAA's audit reports are due.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Department of the Navy: Office of Naval Research
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD concurred with this recommendation. In response, DOD stated that the Office of Naval Research will update its existing processes for tracking key milestones to include information such as due dates for rate proposals and DCAA audit reports. As of June 15, 2017, no updated information has been provided by the Department of Defense. We will continue to monitor the status of this recommendation.
    Director: Melissa Emrey-Arras
    Phone: (617) 788-0534

    7 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help foster and unaccompanied homeless youth better navigate the college admissions and federal student aid processes, the Secretaries of Education and HHS should jointly study potential options for encouraging and enabling child welfare caseworkers, McKinney-Vento homeless youth liaisons, and other adults who work with these youth to more actively assist them with college planning.

    Agency: Department of Education
    Status: Open

    Comments: Education, working with the Department of Health and Human Services, issued a Foster Youth Transition Toolkit in May 2016 which addresses both financial aid and college admissions processes. The toolkit was written for youth in or formerly in foster care rather than for professionals who serve these youth. Education noted that it had also posted a Homeless Youth Fact sheet for teachers and other professionals on its website in July. Education said that it will continue to work with HHS and the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth about college admissions and federal student aid processes for foster and unaccompanied homeless youth. Education also plans to conduct a technical assistance webinar for McKinney-Vento homeless youth liaisons and to provide technical assistance for other programs. Making such information available on Education's website is an encouraging step, as are plans to conduct webinars for professionals who work with homeless youth. We look forward to the implementation of these plans. However, we continue to believe that HHS and Education should consider ways to encourage more active college planning efforts among professionals who work with homeless and foster youth that consider professional staff's competing goals and priorities and multiple responsibilities.
    Recommendation: To help foster and unaccompanied homeless youth better navigate the college admissions and federal student aid processes, the Secretaries of Education and HHS should jointly study potential options for encouraging and enabling child welfare caseworkers, McKinney-Vento homeless youth liaisons, and other adults who work with these youth to more actively assist them with college planning.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: HHS, working with the Department of Education, issued a Foster Youth Transition Toolkit in May 2016 which encourages current and former foster youth to pursue college and addresses both financial aid and college admissions processes. The toolkit was written for youth in or formerly in foster care, and HHS considers it a resource for unaccompanied homeless youth as well as for the adults who serve these youth. Making such information available through this joint publication is an encouraging step. However, child welfare caseworkers, school homelessness liaisons, and other professionals who work with homeless and foster youth have competing goals and priorities and multiple responsibilities. To encourage and facilitate college planning and admissions efforts, Education and HHS would need to carefully consider professional staff's workloads, responsibilities, and training needs, among other issues, and develop some options for encouraging college planning efforts among professionals in these programs who work with homeless and foster youth.
    Recommendation: To help foster and unaccompanied homeless youth, as well as adults who assist these youth, better navigate the federal student aid process and obtain information about college resources, the Secretary of Education, in consultation with the Secretary of HHS, should create webpages directed to homeless and foster youth so they can more easily find tailored and centralized information about available federal and other resources, such as Pell Grants, Chafee Education and Training Voucher Program (Chafee ETV Vouchers), and waivers for college admission tests.

    Agency: Department of Education
    Status: Open

    Comments: In addition to having a webpage about foster youth, Education noted that in April 2016 it had created a new webpage with resources for homeless children and youth. In July 2016, Education developed and posted online a Foster Care Transition Toolkit and a Fact Sheet on federal student aid for homeless youth that is available through its resources webpage. The development and posting of these materials on the agency's website offers helpful resources to foster and homeless youth; however, Education should also make it easier for these youth, who often lack adult support, to find these documents easily--such as by referring to them on the page that says who is eligible for federal student aid--without lengthy searching of the Website.
    Recommendation: To help college financial aid administrators more effectively implement eligibility rules for unaccompanied homeless youth, the Secretary of Education should make available an optional worksheet or form that college financial aid administrators can voluntarily use to document unaccompanied homeless youth status or encourage the use of existing forms that are available.

    Agency: Department of Education
    Status: Open

    Comments: Education agreed that it would be helpful to make forms developed by outside organizations knowledgeable about homelessness issues available for financial aid administrators to use for documenting the status of unaccompanied homeless youth. Education also said that it plans to highlight the availability of these forms and provide guidance at its annual conference and in updates to the Federal Student Aid Handbook. Education noted that it will not endorse the use of a specific form but that it will highlight forms that already exist that may be useful to financial aid administrators. We look forward to Education making such forms available for college financial aid administrators so that they can more effectively implement eligibility rules for unaccompanied homeless youth.
    Recommendation: To help homeless youth more easily access federal student aid, the Secretary of Education should clarify its guidance to financial aid administrators and students about whether financial aid administrators should accept any unaccompanied homeless youth determination provided by McKinney-Vento homeless liaisons or other authorized officials even if a student is not in high school or receiving program services.

    Agency: Department of Education
    Status: Open

    Comments: In June 2016, Education posted questions and answers about federal student for homeless youth on its website and in July, the agency posted a fact sheet about Homeless Youth on its webpage for teachers and other professional staff. However, neither document states whether financial aid administrators should accept any unaccompanied homeless youth determination provided by McKinney-Vento liaisons or authorized officials even if a student is not in high school or receiving program services. In July 2016, Education issued guidance for the McKinney-Vento program specifying that a local liaison may continue to provide verification of a youth's homelessness status for federal student aid purposes for as long as the liaison has access to the information necessary to make such a determination for a particular youth. The guidance also stated that local homelessness liaisons should ensure that all homeless high school students receive information and counseling on college-related issues. Education said that it will also hold a technical assistance webinar for McKinney-Vento Education for Homeless Children and Youths Program liaisons. In July 2016, Education said that it will issue the most-up-to-date guidance clarifying that financial aid administrators should accept any unaccompanied homeless youth determination provided by McKinney-Vento liaisons or authorized officials even if a student is not in high school or receiving program services. In addition to updating its guidance for financial aid administrators, the agency should also update the question and answer factsheet on federal student aid for homeless students and the factsheet for professionals so that the information on unaccompanied homeless youth determinations is presented consistently in these key documents.
    Recommendation: To enhance access to federal student aid for unaccompanied homeless youth, the Secretary of Education should consider developing a legislative proposal for congressional action to simplify the application process so that once a student has received an initial determination as an unaccompanied homeless youth, the student will not be required to have that status re-verified in subsequent years but attest to their current status on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, unless a financial aid administrator has conflicting information.

    Agency: Department of Education
    Status: Open

    Comments: In July 2016, Education said that the department had proposed further simplification of the FAFSA in its fiscal year 2017 budget proposal. Education stated that it will also consider the feasibility of a legislative proposal to not require re-verification of homelessness after a student has received an initial determination. Such a legislative proposal would enhance access to federal student aid for unaccompanied homeless youth.
    Recommendation: To simplify program rules for Chafee ETV vouchers and improve access to these vouchers for former foster youth ages 21 and 22, the Secretary of HHS should consider developing a legislative proposal for congressional action to allow foster youth to be eligible for the Chafee ETV voucher until age 23 without also requiring that they start using the voucher before they turn 21.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: HHS's budget request for fiscal year 2018 does not contain a legislative proposal to improve access to Chafee vouchers for former foster youth ages 21 and 22. In July 2016, HHS noted that it had made a proposal for mandatory programs to improve foster youth's access to vouchers for title IV-E Chafee programs in the Administration for Children and Families' fiscal year 2017 budget request. However, the agency explained that the proposal's purpose is to extend eligibility for Chafee Foster Care Independence Program (CFCIP) services to youth up to age 23 in jurisdictions that have extended foster care to age 21. According to HHS, the budgetary proposal does not affect the Chafee Vouchers. A legislative proposal to simplify program rules for Chafee ETV vouchers would support improving access to these vouchers for former foster youth ages 21 and 22.
    Director: Brian J. Lepore
    Phone: (202) 512-4523

    11 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help determine the effectiveness of BRAC homeless assistance conveyances, the Secretaries of Housing and Urban Development and Defense should update the BRAC homeless assistance regulations to require that conveyance statuses be tracked. These regulatory updates could include requiring DOD to track and share disposal actions with HUD and requiring HUD to track the status following disposal, such as type of assistance received by providers and potential withdrawals by providers.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD partially concurred with the recommendation to update the BRAC homeless assistance regulations to require that conveyance statuses be tracked, which could include requiring DOD to track and share disposal actions with HUD and requiring HUD to track the status following disposal. In an April 2017 follow up, DOD stated that it plans to address our recommendations regarding the BRAC homeless assistance process when Congress provides BRAC authorizing legislation. DOD added that it will work closely with the military Departments and HUD staff in the process of revising the implementing regulation.
    Recommendation: To help determine the effectiveness of BRAC homeless assistance conveyances, the Secretaries of Housing and Urban Development and Defense should update the BRAC homeless assistance regulations to require that conveyance statuses be tracked. These regulatory updates could include requiring DOD to track and share disposal actions with HUD and requiring HUD to track the status following disposal, such as type of assistance received by providers and potential withdrawals by providers.

    Agency: Department of Housing and Urban Development
    Status: Open

    Comments: HUD generally concurred with the recommendation to update the BRAC homeless assistance regulations to require that conveyance statuses be tracked, which could include requiring DOD to track and share disposal actions with HUD and requiring HUD to track the status following disposal. HUD stated that it is willing to update the BRAC homeless assistance regulations to track the conveyances of property for homeless assistance, but noted that it will require DOD agreement to do so because the regulations are joint. In a March 2017 follow up, HUD stated it will address GAO recommendations regarding the BRAC homeless assistance process when Congress provides BRAC authorizing legislation. HUD added it would be premature to make any changes to current implementing policies or regulations which could be impacted by new BRAC authorizing legislation. HUD stated it will work closely with the military departments and DOD staff in the process of revising the implementing regulation.
    Recommendation: To assist homeless assistance providers and LRAs in completing the steps of the BRAC homeless assistance process within required time frames, to provide additional information to reduce unfulfilled expectations about the decisions made in executing the homeless assistance agreements, and to promote a greater dissemination of this information, the Secretaries of Housing and Urban Development and Defense, for each of the following four elements, should update the BRAC homeless assistance regulations; establish information-sharing mechanisms, such as a website or informational pamphlets; or develop templates to include specific guidance that clearly identifies the information that should be provided to homeless assistance providers during tours of on-base property, such as the condition of the property.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD partially concurred with the recommendation to update the BRAC homeless assistance regulations, establish information-sharing mechanisms, or develop templates to include specific guidance that clearly identifies the information that should be provided to homeless assistance providers during tours of on-base property, such as the condition of the property. DOD stated that while it already provides generic information about the property, the LRAs and interested homeless assistance providers can undertake facility assessments following the tours. However, DOD did not provide additional detail or explanation about how it would provide information about the condition of the property or access to it. In an April 2017 follow up, DOD stated that it plans to address our recommendations regarding the BRAC homeless assistance process when Congress provides BRAC authorizing legislation. DOD added that it will work closely with the military Departments and HUD staff in the process of revising the implementing regulation.
    Recommendation: To assist homeless assistance providers and LRAs in completing the steps of the BRAC homeless assistance process within required time frames, to provide additional information to reduce unfulfilled expectations about the decisions made in executing the homeless assistance agreements, and to promote a greater dissemination of this information, the Secretaries of Housing and Urban Development and Defense, for each of the following four elements, should update the BRAC homeless assistance regulations; establish information-sharing mechanisms, such as a website or informational pamphlets; or develop templates to include specific guidance that clearly identifies the information that should be provided to homeless assistance providers during tours of on-base property, such as the condition of the property.

    Agency: Department of Housing and Urban Development
    Status: Open

    Comments: HUD generally concurred with the recommendation to update the BRAC homeless assistance regulations, establish information-sharing mechanisms, or develop templates to include specific guidance that clearly identifies the information that should be provided to homeless assistance providers during tours of on-base property, such as the condition of the property. HUD stated that it will update its BRAC guidebook, website, and presentations to provide clarifying information for homeless assistance providers regarding what information should be included during tours of on-base property. HUD also noted in its response that this will require DOD and military department agreement to implement and that the provision of information about the condition of on-base property and access to that property is under the purview of the military department. In a March 2017 follow up, HUD stated it will address GAO recommendations regarding the BRAC homeless assistance process when Congress provides BRAC authorizing legislation. HUD added it would be premature to make any changes to current implementing policies or regulations which could be impacted by new BRAC authorizing legislation. HUD stated it will work closely with the military departments and DOD staff in the process of revising the implementing regulation.
    Recommendation: To assist homeless assistance providers and LRAs in completing the steps of the BRAC homeless assistance process within required time frames, to provide additional information to reduce unfulfilled expectations about the decisions made in executing the homeless assistance agreements, and to promote a greater dissemination of this information, the Secretaries of Housing and Urban Development and Defense, for each of the following four elements, should update the BRAC homeless assistance regulations; establish information-sharing mechanisms, such as a website or informational pamphlets; or develop templates to include information for homeless assistance providers to use for preparing their notices of interest.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD did not concur with the recommendation to update the BRAC homeless assistance regulations, establish information-sharing mechanisms, or develop templates to include information for homeless assistance providers to use in preparing their notices of interest. In its response, DOD stated that the existing regulatory guidance is adequate for providers' expressions of interest, given that these expressions evolve as the redevelopment planning effort proceeds and they learn more about the property. In an April 2017 follow up, DOD stated that it plans to address our recommendations regarding the BRAC homeless assistance process when Congress provides BRAC authorizing legislation. DOD added that it will work closely with the military Departments and HUD staff in the process of revising the implementing regulation.
    Recommendation: To assist homeless assistance providers and LRAs in completing the steps of the BRAC homeless assistance process within required time frames, to provide additional information to reduce unfulfilled expectations about the decisions made in executing the homeless assistance agreements, and to promote a greater dissemination of this information, the Secretaries of Housing and Urban Development and Defense, for each of the following four elements, should update the BRAC homeless assistance regulations; establish information-sharing mechanisms, such as a website or informational pamphlets; or develop templates to include information for homeless assistance providers to use for preparing their notices of interest.

    Agency: Department of Housing and Urban Development
    Status: Open

    Comments: HUD generally concurred with the recommendation to update the BRAC homeless assistance regulations, establish information-sharing mechanisms, or develop templates to include information for homeless assistance providers to use in preparing their notices of interest. HUD stated that it will update its BRAC guidebook, website, and presentations to provide clarifying information for homeless assistance providers to use in preparing their notices of interest. HUD also stated that it considered the current regulations and BRAC guidebook sufficient to inform providers as long as LRAs did not place additional requirements, which may create an undue burden for providers. In a March 2017 follow up, HUD stated it will address GAO recommendations regarding the BRAC homeless assistance process when Congress provides BRAC authorizing legislation. HUD added it would be premature to make any changes to current implementing policies or regulations which could be impacted by new BRAC authorizing legislation. HUD stated it will work closely with the military departments and DOD staff in the process of revising the implementing regulation.
    Recommendation: To assist homeless assistance providers and LRAs in completing the steps of the BRAC homeless assistance process within required time frames, to provide additional information to reduce unfulfilled expectations about the decisions made in executing the homeless assistance agreements, and to promote a greater dissemination of this information, the Secretaries of Housing and Urban Development and Defense, for each of the following four elements, should update the BRAC homeless assistance regulations; establish information-sharing mechanisms, such as a website or informational pamphlets; or develop templates to include guidance for legally binding agreements and clarification on the implications of unsigned agreements.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD partially concurred with the recommendation to update the BRAC homeless assistance regulations, establish information-sharing mechanisms, or develop templates to include guidance for legally binding agreements and clarification on the implications of unsigned agreements. DOD did not commit to taking any actions to provide this information and instead noted that any action should ensure that a legally binding agreement does not bind DOD to disposal actions it is unable to carry out. Nothing in the recommendation requires DOD to sign an agreement it cannot carry out. DOD further noted that the purpose of the legally binding agreement is to provide remedies and recourse for the LRA and provider in carrying out an accommodation following property disposal. In an April 2017 follow up, DOD stated that it plans to address our recommendations regarding the BRAC homeless assistance process when Congress provides BRAC authorizing legislation. DOD added that it will work closely with the military Departments and HUD staff in the process of revising the implementing regulation.
    Recommendation: To assist homeless assistance providers and LRAs in completing the steps of the BRAC homeless assistance process within required time frames, to provide additional information to reduce unfulfilled expectations about the decisions made in executing the homeless assistance agreements, and to promote a greater dissemination of this information, the Secretaries of Housing and Urban Development and Defense, for each of the following four elements, should update the BRAC homeless assistance regulations; establish information-sharing mechanisms, such as a website or informational pamphlets; or develop templates to include guidance for legally binding agreements and clarification on the implications of unsigned agreements.

    Agency: Department of Housing and Urban Development
    Status: Open

    Comments: HUD generally concurred with the recommendation to update the BRAC homeless assistance regulations, establish information-sharing mechanisms, or develop templates to include guidance for legally binding agreements and clarification on the implications of unsigned agreements. HUD stated that it will update its BRAC guidebook, website, and presentations to provide clarifying information for homeless assistance providers to use in preparing legally binding agreements and on the implications of unsigned agreements. In a March 2017 follow up, HUD stated it will address GAO recommendations regarding the BRAC homeless assistance process when Congress provides BRAC authorizing legislation. HUD added it would be premature to make any changes to current implementing policies or regulations which could be impacted by new BRAC authorizing legislation. HUD stated it will work closely with the military departments and DOD staff in the process of revising the implementing regulation.
    Recommendation: To assist homeless assistance providers and LRAs in completing the steps of the BRAC homeless assistance process within required time frames, to provide additional information to reduce unfulfilled expectations about the decisions made in executing the homeless assistance agreements, and to promote a greater dissemination of this information, the Secretaries of Housing and Urban Development and Defense, for each of the following four elements, should update the BRAC homeless assistance regulations; establish information-sharing mechanisms, such as a website or informational pamphlets; or develop templates to include specific information on legal alternatives to providing on-base property, including acceptable alternative options such as financial assistance or off-base property in lieu of on-base property, information about rules of sale for on-base property conveyed to homeless assistance providers, and under what circumstances it is permissible to sell property for affordable housing alongside the no-cost homeless assistance conveyance.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD did not concur with the recommendation to update the BRAC homeless assistance regulations, establish information-sharing mechanisms, or develop templates to include specific information on legal alternatives to providing on-base property, including acceptable alternative options such as financial assistance or off-base property in lieu of on-base property, information about rules of sale for on-base property conveyed to homeless assistance providers, and under what circumstances it is permissible to sell property for affordable housing alongside the no-cost homeless assistance conveyance. In its response, DOD stated that providers may only be considered through specific expressions of interest in surplus BRAC property, and these suggested alternatives may only be considered within the context of what is legally permissible given the specific circumstances at each installation. Further, DOD noted in its response that HUD may provide examples of alternatives to on-base property that have been approved to date as part of a local accommodation to offer examples for LRAs and providers. In an April 2017 follow up, DOD stated that it plans to address our recommendations regarding the BRAC homeless assistance process when Congress provides BRAC authorizing legislation. DOD added that it will work closely with the military Departments and HUD staff in the process of revising the implementing regulation.
    Recommendation: To assist homeless assistance providers and LRAs in completing the steps of the BRAC homeless assistance process within required time frames, to provide additional information to reduce unfulfilled expectations about the decisions made in executing the homeless assistance agreements, and to promote a greater dissemination of this information, the Secretaries of Housing and Urban Development and Defense, for each of the following four elements, should update the BRAC homeless assistance regulations; establish information-sharing mechanisms, such as a website or informational pamphlets; or develop templates to include specific information on legal alternatives to providing on-base property, including acceptable alternative options such as financial assistance or off-base property in lieu of on-base property, information about rules of sale for on-base property conveyed to homeless assistance providers, and under what circumstances it is permissible to sell property for affordable housing alongside the no-cost homeless assistance conveyance.

    Agency: Department of Housing and Urban Development
    Status: Open

    Comments: HUD generally concurred with the recommendation to update the BRAC homeless assistance regulations, establish information-sharing mechanisms, or develop templates to include specific information on legal alternatives to providing on-base property, including acceptable alternative options such as financial assistance or off-base property in lieu of on-base property, information about rules of sale for on-base property conveyed to homeless assistance providers, and under what circumstances it is permissible to sell property for affordable housing alongside the no-cost homeless assistance conveyance. HUD stated that it will update its BRAC guidebook, website, and presentations to clarify that the use of off-base property and financial assistance are acceptable alternate means of homeless assistance accommodation in base redevelopment plans and to include examples of alternatives to on-base property that have been approved to date. HUD also stated that this will require DOD and military department agreement to implement. In a March 2017 follow up, HUD stated it will address GAO recommendations regarding the BRAC homeless assistance process when Congress provides BRAC authorizing legislation. HUD added it would be premature to make any changes to current implementing policies or regulations which could be impacted by new BRAC authorizing legislation. HUD stated it will work closely with the military departments and DOD staff in the process of revising the implementing regulation.
    Recommendation: To help improve the timeliness of the HUD review process, the Secretary of Housing Urban Development should develop options to address the use of staff resources dedicated to the reviews of bases during a BRAC round, such as assigning temporary headquarters staff or utilizing current field HUD staff.

    Agency: Department of Housing and Urban Development
    Status: Open

    Comments: HUD generally concurred with the recommendation to develop options to address the use of staff resources dedicated to the reviews of bases during a BRAC round, such as assigning temporary headquarters staff or utilizing current field HUD staff. HUD stated that it temporarily assigned headquarters staff and utilized field office staff during the 2005 round of BRAC. HUD also stated that, in the event of another BRAC round the size of 2005, it would encourage Congress to allocate funding for appropriate temporary staff resources to assist the department in meeting important timelines. In a March 2017 follow up, HUD stated it will address GAO recommendations regarding the BRAC homeless assistance process when Congress provides BRAC authorizing legislation. HUD added it would be premature to make any changes to current implementing policies or regulations which could be impacted by new BRAC authorizing legislation. HUD stated it will work closely with the military departments and DOD staff in the process of revising the implementing regulation.
    Director: Melissa Emrey-Arras
    Phone: (617) 788-0534

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To strengthen Education's oversight of schools, the Secretary of Education should ensure that Education staff consistently review, record, and respond to accreditor sanction information, and clarify its guidance on how the agency will respond to specific accreditor sanctions.

    Agency: Department of Education
    Status: Open

    Comments: Education agreed with this recommendation, noting that it is committed to identifying ways to use data about and from accreditors in its oversight. As of July 2017, Education has developed guidance for how accreditors should report sanction information. Education previously noted that the agency also planned to provide additional staff training and to provide a copy of GAO's report to the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity. GAO will close this recommendation when Education provides current documentation of staff training and guidance, and documentation that GAO's report has been provided to the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity.
    Recommendation: To strengthen Education's oversight of accreditors through the recognition review process, the Secretary of Education should draw upon accreditor data to determine whether accreditors are consistently applying and enforcing their standards to ensure that the education offered by schools is of sufficient quality. For example, Education could systematically use available information related to the frequency of accreditor sanctions or could do additional analyses, such as comparing accreditor sanction data with Education's information on student outcomes, to inform its recognition reviews.

    Agency: Department of Education
    Status: Open

    Comments: Education agreed with this recommendation, noting that it is committed to identifying ways to use data about and from accreditors in its oversight. As of July 2017, Education has taken steps to track the number of accreditor sanctions issued by each accrediting agency. Education previously noted that this information will then be used to focus their limited resources on those accrediting agencies with extremely low or high sanction rates. The agency also noted it would provide a copy of GAO's report to the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity. GAO will close this recommendation when these efforts are completed.
    Director: St James, Lorelei
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: As part of the development of a national maritime strategy and a national freight strategic plan, the Secretary of Transportation should direct MARAD--in consultation with maritime industry stakeholders--to study and identify any potential problems in ensuring that U.S. mariners are adequately trained to meet the needs of the entire maritime industry, including the domestic waterways. Public forums, such as MARAD's roundtable discussions, could serve as a means for gaining industry input on potential training issues.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: On April 7, 2017 GAO requested an update on the status of MARAD's position on whether or not the recommendation would be implemented. In June 2016, MARAD indicated that it had not made this determination. In response to GAO's latest inquiry, MARAD indicated that it was in the process of checking on whether any action had been taken within the agency to implement the recommendation.
    Director: Czerwinski, Stanley J
    Phone: (202) 512-6806

    3 open recommendations
    including 3 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: The Director of OMB should, in collaboration with the members of COFAR, develop and make publicly available an implementation schedule that includes performance targets, goal leaders who can be held accountable for each goal, and mechanisms to monitor, evaluate, and report on results.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: In January 2017, GAO reported that although COFAR had released its updated priorities for Fiscal Years 2016 through 2017, it had not released to the public an implementation schedule that included key elements such as performance targets, mechanisms to monitor, evaluate, and report on progress made toward its stated priorities. For this reason, this recommendation remains open.
    Recommendation: The Director of OMB should, in collaboration with the members of COFAR, clarify the roles and responsibilities for various streamlining initiatives and steps for decision making, in particular how COFAR will engage with relevant grant-making agency stakeholders and utilize agency resources.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: In January 2017, GAO reported that although COFAR had released its updated priorities for Fiscal Years 2016 through 2017, the document did not provide clarification on roles and responsibilities for its members. For this reason, this recommendation remains open.
    Recommendation: The Director of OMB should, in collaboration with the members of COFAR, improve efforts to develop an effective two-way communication strategy that includes the grant recipient community, smaller grantmaking agencies that are not members of COFAR, and other entities involved with grants management policy.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: In January 2017, GAO reported that although COFAR had released its updated priorities for Fiscal Years 2016 through 2017, the document did not provide a detailed communication strategy for the grant recipient community. For this reason, this recommendation remains open.
    Director: Brown, Orice Williams
    Phone: (202)512-5837

    4 open recommendations
    Recommendation: While creating control systems at the same time that the emergency programs were being designed and implemented posed unique challenges, the recent crisis provided invaluable experience that the Federal Reserve System can apply in the future should the use of these authorities again become warranted. Going forward, to further strengthen policies for selecting vendors, ensuring the transparency and consistency of decision making involving the implementation of any future emergency programs, and managing risks related to these programs, the Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board should direct Federal Reserve Board and Reserve Bank staff to strengthen procedures in place to guide Reserve Banks' efforts to manage emergency program access for higher-risk borrowers by providing more specific guidance on how Reserve Bank staff should exercise discretion and document decisions to restrict or deny program access for depository institutions and primary dealers that would otherwise be eligible for emergency assistance.

    Agency: Federal Reserve System: Board of Governors
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: While creating control systems at the same time that the emergency programs were being designed and implemented posed unique challenges, the recent crisis provided invaluable experience that the Federal Reserve System can apply in the future should the use of these authorities again become warranted. Going forward, to further strengthen policies for selecting vendors, ensuring the transparency and consistency of decision making involving the implementation of any future emergency programs, and managing risks related to these programs, the Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board should direct Federal Reserve Board and Reserve Bank staff to document a plan for estimating and tracking losses that could occur under more adverse economic conditions within and across all emergency lending activities and for using this information to inform policy decisions, such as decisions to limit risk exposures through program design or restrictions applied to eligible borrowing institutions.

    Agency: Federal Reserve System: Board of Governors
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: While creating control systems at the same time that the emergency programs were being designed and implemented posed unique challenges, the recent crisis provided invaluable experience that the Federal Reserve System can apply in the future should the use of these authorities again become warranted. Going forward, to further strengthen policies for selecting vendors, ensuring the transparency and consistency of decision making involving the implementation of any future emergency programs, and managing risks related to these programs, the Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board should direct Federal Reserve Board and Reserve Bank staff, in drafting regulations to establish the policies and procedures governing emergency lending under section 13(3) of the Federal Reserve Act, to set forth the Federal Reserve Board's process for documenting, to the extent not otherwise required by law, its justification for each use of this authority.

    Agency: Federal Reserve System: Board of Governors
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: While creating control systems at the same time that the emergency programs were being designed and implemented posed unique challenges, the recent crisis provided invaluable experience that the Federal Reserve System can apply in the future should the use of these authorities again become warranted. Going forward, to further strengthen policies for selecting vendors, ensuring the transparency and consistency of decision making involving the implementation of any future emergency programs, and managing risks related to these programs, the Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board should direct Federal Reserve Board and Reserve Bank staff to document the Federal Reserve Board's guidance to Reserve Banks on types of emergency program decisions and risk events that require approval by or consultation with the Board of Governors, the Federal Open Market Committee, or other designated groups or officials at the Federal Reserve Board.

    Agency: Federal Reserve System: Board of Governors
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Goldenkoff, Robert N
    Phone: (202)512-2757

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To provide more meaningful access to LEP populations, the Administrator of SBA should finalize and issue its LEP plan and recipient guidance.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: Executive Order 13166 requires federal agencies to examine how to improve access for persons with limited English proficiency (LEP) to programs, services, and activities conducted by both federal agencies as well as state, local, and regional entities that receive federal financial assistance (a group referred to in the Executive Order as "recipients"). While the Executive Order does not prescribe specific approaches for improving access for LEP persons, it does require federal agencies to develop guidelines (referred to as "recipient guidance") that clarify the obligations of state, local, and regional entities. Agencies are also required to prepare LEP plans outlining the steps the agency will take to ensure that eligible LEP persons can access their programs and activities. In our April 2010 report on language access issues, we determined that the Small Business Administration (SBA) had not issued its recipient guidance or LEP plan. SBA officials attributed the delay to several factors, including staff turnover in key positions responsible for developing and approving their LEP Plan and recipient guidance as well as a major transformation effort involving SBA's business operations, goals, and staffing arrangements. As a result, our report recommended that the SBA Administrator finalize and issue SBA's LEP Plan and recipient guidance. As of February 2017, SBA's audit liaison reported that SBA's LEP Plan and recipient guidance are being revised based on comments from a review by the Department of Justice.