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    Subject Term: "Proprietary schools"

    1 publication with a total of 3 open recommendations
    Director: Melissa Emrey-Arras
    Phone: (617) 788-0534

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve oversight of school finances and provide better information to schools and the public about its monitoring efforts, the Chief Operating Officer of the Office of Federal Student Aid should update the composite score formula to better measure schools' financial conditions and capture financial risks.

    Agency: Department of Education: Office of Federal Student Aid
    Status: Open

    Comments: Education generally disagreed with this recommendation. The agency stated that the report does not show that any changes in accounting standards have made the composite score calculations less reliable. Our report notes that components and definitions in Education's composite score do not reflect changes in accounting practices. As a result, some aspects of Education's formula are no longer directly linked to information in schools' audited financial statements. This makes the composite score difficult to apply in a consistent, uniform manner -- a problem that will be compounded by new accounting standards that go into effect later in 2017 that change how nonprofit schools will report net assets on their financial statements. Education stated that it will work with the Financial Accounting Standards Board on future changes to the accounting standards that may affect a school's composite score calculation; however, revisions to the underlying composite score formula are necessary to ensure consistency with accounting practices and to realign the formula with the information schools report in their audited financial statements. These and other weaknesses collectively raise significant concerns about the effectiveness of the composite score as a measure of schools' financial conditions. We continue to believe that Education should address these weaknesses by updating the composite score formula to better protect students and taxpayers going forward.
    Recommendation: To improve oversight of school finances and provide better information to schools and the public about its monitoring efforts, the Chief Operating Officer of the Office of Federal Student Aid should improve guidance to schools about how the financial composite score is calculated, for example, by updating current guidance to include explanations about common areas of confusion and misinterpretation for schools.

    Agency: Department of Education: Office of Federal Student Aid
    Status: Open

    Comments: Education agreed with this recommendation and that additional general guidance to schools would be helpful. The department also stated that it will update the guidance in its Federal Student Aid Handbook and may provide answers and related guidance to some frequently asked questions on its website. We will consider closing this recommendation then this effort has been completed.
    Recommendation: To improve oversight of school finances and provide better information to schools and the public about its monitoring efforts, the Chief Operating Officer of the Office of Federal Student Aid should increase the transparency of public data on schools' financial health by publicly listing the final composite score for each school.

    Agency: Department of Education: Office of Federal Student Aid
    Status: Open

    Comments: Education stated it would further evaluate this recommendation. Education agreed that transparency in providing financial responsibility outcomes for schools is important. The department also stated that it will further evaluate the recommendation to ensure that any action it takes will provide information to the public that is precise, fair, and accurate.