Recommendations Database

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. We sent letters to the heads of key departments and agencies, urging them to continue focusing on these issues. Below you can search only priority recommendations, or search all recommendations.

Our recommendations help congressional and agency leaders prepare for appropriations and oversight activities, as well as help improve government operations. Moreover, when implemented, some of our priority recommendations can save large amounts of money, help Congress make decisions on major issues, and substantially improve or transform major government programs or agencies, among other benefits.

As of November 30, 2021, there are 4659 open recommendations, of which 482 are priority recommendations. Recommendations remain open until they are designated as Closed-implemented or Closed-not implemented.

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Federal Student Loans: Key Weaknesses Limit Education's Management of Contractors

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1 Open Recommendations
1 Priority
Agency Recommendation Status
Department of Education
Priority Rec.
This is a priority recommendation.
To strengthen management of the Direct Loan Program and ensure good customer service for borrowers, the Secretary of Education should direct the Office of Federal Student Aid's Chief Operating Officer to review its methods of providing instructions and guidance to servicers, identifying areas to improve clarity and sufficiency, and ensure consistent delivery of instructions and guidance to ensure program integrity and improve service to borrowers. For example, the Department could consider implementing a detailed, common servicing manual for the Direct Loan program.
Open

The Department of Education agreed with this recommendation and reviewed its process for providing guidance to servicers. It has issued a few clarifications to servicers to help with consistency and to improve servicer communication with borrowers. As of May 2021, the agency is providing training to staff on how to write better instructions and guidance for servicers. Education is also redesigning its student loan financial services system and expects it to include additional guidance to servicers. To fully implement this recommendation, the agency needs to demonstrate that the new Direct Loan

Higher Education: Improved Tax Information Could Help Families Pay for College

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1 Open Recommendations
1 Priority
Agency Recommendation Status
Department of Education
Priority Rec.
This is a priority 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.
Open

As of May 2021, the Department of Education (Education) had made 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 convened stakeholder panels including both governmental and nongovernmental researchers to identify and prioritize key policy questions related to Title IV and

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