The Law Enforcement Education Program Is in Serious Financial Disarray

FGMSD-80-46: Published: Jun 4, 1980. Publicly Released: Jun 4, 1980.

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Since 1969, the Law Enforcement Education Program (LEEP) made over $278 million in loans and grants without adequate management controls. The program was originally established by Congress in 1968 the purpose of assisting those working in law enforcement or planning to work in law enforcement to obtain a higher education. Under the program, grants and loans are made to individuals enrolled in law enforcement or criminal justice courses at almost 1,000 junior colleges, colleges, and universities. The grants and loans are canceled without repayment if the recipient works for a publicly supported law enforcement or criminal justice agency for a specified period. Otherwise, the recipient must repay the grant or loan with interest.

A review showed that LEEP has suffered financial and administrative breakdowns because of inadequate controls and inaccurate records. GAO estimates that: (1) 84 percent of the billed recipients did not pay; (2) $18.2 million currently owed LEEP will not be collected; (3) about $2 million that should have been collected was not collected during one quarter of fiscal year 1977; and (4) about 90 percent of the bills to recipients were incorrect. Additionally, GAO found that: (1) payment checks were not promptly deposited and were poorly controlled from the day received until they were deposited in the Federal Reserve Bank; (2) accounting controls for returned certifications were inadequate; (3) forgiveness was granted for employment with agencies which have little to do with criminal justice; (4) loans and grants were not accurately recorded or reported to the Treasury Department; and (5) management did not effectively monitor the schools' performance and compliance with regulations. Consequently, in 1979, the Comptroller General approved the design of a new Law Enforcement Education Program accounting system. The new system should correct many of the accounting problems.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

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

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Education should promptly implement the new Law Enforcement Education Program accounting system and see that: (1) computer programs are changed to correct the billing and forgiveness problems, and are fully documented; (2) bills are sampled and reviewed periodically until full reliance can be placed on the computer; (3) grant recipients who do not certify employment are billed; (4) a comprehensive and aggressive collection program is adopted; (5) procedures are established for controlling and processing payments; (6) procedures for estimating allowances for uncollectible accounts, writing off bad debts, and estimating unrecorded grants and loans are established; and (7) the schools' implementation of program guidelines is better monitored.

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