Social Security Student Benefits for Postsecondary Students Should Be Discontinued

HRD-79-108: Published: Aug 30, 1979. Publicly Released: Aug 30, 1979.

Additional Materials:


Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800

A review was made of the student benefit program to see if it is an unnecessary burden upon the overall Social Security system, and thus upon taxpayers supporting the system. The following major Office of Education programs comprise the student benefit program in Social Security: Basic Educational Opportunity Grant, Guaranteed Student Loan, National Direct Student Loan, College Work-Study, Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, and State Student Incentive Grant.

Payments to student beneficiaries are an unnecessary burden on Social Security's trust funds. Students are expected to cost the funds $2.2 billion during fiscal 1980, with estimates of greater costs in the future. The benefits paid have no relationship to cost of education and academic progress. The student benefit program contributes to other federal education aid programs paying unneeded benefits. It gives many students more money than their school costs warrant, inequitably curtails benefits to other students, and deprives nonstudents.

Matter for Congressional Consideration

  1. Status: Closed

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

    Matter: Congress should enact an amendment to the Social Security Act which will discontinue student benefits for postsecondary students and take the necessary steps to assure that the Office of Education will have sufficient financial resources to meet any increased demand for aid arising from discontinuance of these benefits.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

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

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare should direct the Commissioner of Social Security to pay student benefits to the parents of high school students rather than to the students themselves. The Secretary should direct the Commissioners of Education and Social Security to revise the Social Security/Basic Grant computer matching procedure to verify Social Security benefits for all Basic Grant applications.

    Agency Affected:


Explore the full database of GAO's Open Recommendations »

Feb 22, 2018

Feb 7, 2018

Jan 23, 2018

Dec 18, 2017

Nov 30, 2017

Sep 20, 2017

Sep 14, 2017

Sep 13, 2017

Jul 18, 2017

Looking for more? Browse all our products here