GAO’s recommendations database contains report recommendations that still need to be addressed.
GAO’s priority recommendations are those that we believe warrant priority attention.
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As of April 7, 2020, there are 4984 open recommendations, of which 369 are priority recommendations. Recommendations remain open until they are designated as Closed-implemented or Closed-not implemented.
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Recommendation: The Chief Operating Officer of the Office of Federal Student Aid should provide additional information to the PSLF servicer and borrowers to enhance their ability to determine which employers qualify for PSLF. This could involve Education developing an authoritative list of qualifying employers or improving the PSLF servicer's existing database, and making this information available to borrowers. (Recommendation 2)
Agency: Department of Education: Office of Federal Student Aid Status: Open Priority recommendation
Comments: Education agreed with this recommendation, and the department subsequently incorporated a feature into the online PSLF Help Tool that was released in December 2018 to help borrowers determine if their employer fits within general eligibility criteria. Education reported in November 2019 that they are exploring enhancements to this tool that will assist the PSLF servicer in determining employer eligibility, but these features, such as a database of qualifying employers, will not be available until 2020.
Recommendation: To provide federal policymakers information on the relative effectiveness of Title IV programs and higher education tax expenditures, the Secretary of Education should take advantage of opportunities presented by recent and anticipated substantive program changes to sponsor and conduct evaluative research into the effectiveness of Title IV programs and higher education tax expenditures at improving student outcomes.
Agency: Department of Education Status: Open Priority recommendation
Comments: As of January 2020, the Department of Education (Education) had made some progress toward sponsoring and conducting evaluative research into the effectiveness of Title IV programs and higher education tax expenditures at improving student outcomes, as GAO recommended and Education agreed to in 2012. For example, Education took several steps to make data on higher education programs more accessible for research purposes. Education officials also said they are convening stakeholder panels including both governmental and nongovernmental researchers to identify and prioritize key policy questions related to Title IV and higher education tax expenditures. Afterward, Education is planning to partner with governmental or external researchers (via contracts or grants) to investigate the issues identified as priorities. GAO believes that Education's leadership of such efforts would represent a meaningful commitment to make progress on addressing this recommendation. Given that Education has identified a critical research gap in the area of linking higher education financing to student outcomes, GAO continues to emphasize that Education should ensure that its efforts result in actively sponsoring or conducting evaluative research specific to federal programs and assistance that can be used in future policymaking. Making these data-sharing and research efforts a priority will help policymakers make fact-based decisions on the merits and value of various federal assistance efforts.