Fast Facts

Each year, we make more than 1,000 recommendations to help improve the federal government. We alert department heads to the recommendations where they can save the most money, address issues on our High Risk List, or significantly improve government operations.

This report outlines our 6 priority open recommendations for the Department of Education as of April 2020.

For example, we recommended that Education improve customer service to borrowers in the Direct Loan program by improving instructions and guidance to loan servicers.

Since our previous letter in April 2019, Education implemented 3 of our priority recommendations.

Department of Education Priority Recommendations Graphic

Department of Education Priority Recommendations Graphic

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Highlights

What GAO Found

In April 2019, GAO identified eight priority open recommendations for the Department of Education (Education). Since then, Education has implemented three of those recommendations by: (1) analyzing civil rights data by school types and groupings to further understand issues and patterns of disparities at K-12 schools; (2) taking steps to eliminate recertification lapses for borrowers in federal student loan Income-Driven Repayment plans; and (3) improving information security for students receiving financial aid.

In April 2020, GAO identified one additional priority open recommendation for Education, bringing the total number to six. These recommendations involve three areas:

  • protecting the investment in higher education;
     
  • ensuring the well-being and education of the nation's school-age children; and
     
  • improving cybersecurity. Education's continued attention to these issues could lead to significant improvements in government operations.

 Education's continued attention to these issues could lead to significant improvements in government operations.

Why GAO Did This Study

Priority open recommendations are the GAO recommendations that warrant priority attention from heads of key departments or agencies because their implementation could save large amounts of money; improve congressional and/or executive branch decision making on major issues; eliminate mismanagement, fraud, and abuse; or ensure that programs comply with laws and funds are legally spent, among other benefits. Since 2015 GAO has sent letters to selected agencies to highlight the importance of implementing such recommendations.

For more information, contact Melissa Emrey-Arras at (617) 788-0534 or emreyarrasm@gao.gov.



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