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As of January 31, 2023, there are 4839 open recommendations that still need to be addressed. 470 of these are priority recommendations, those that we believe warrant priority attention. Learn more about our priority designation on our Recommendations page.

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1 - 20 of 29 Recommendations, including 0 Priority Recommendations

Higher Education: Department of Education Should Improve Enforcement Procedures Regarding Substantial Misrepresentation by Colleges

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2 Open Recommendations
Agency Recommendation Status
Office of Federal Student Aid The Chief Operating Officer of the Office of Federal Student Aid should complete written procedures for selecting colleges for investigation of possible substantial misrepresentation and for conducting investigations. (Recommendation 1)
Open

When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

Office of Federal Student Aid The Chief Operating Officer of the Office of Federal Student Aid should update written procedures for imposing penalties, as appropriate, on colleges that are found to have engaged in substantial misrepresentation. (Recommendation 2)
Open

When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

Information Technology: Education Needs to Address Student Aid Modernization Weaknesses

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14 Open Recommendations
Agency Recommendation Status
Office of Federal Student Aid The Chief Operating Officer of FSA should ensure that, moving forward, the Next Gen program tracks and monitors all of its costs, including government labor costs. (Recommendation 1)
Open

When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

Office of Federal Student Aid The Chief Operating Officer of FSA should update FSA's cost estimation guidance for its acquisition programs to incorporate the best practices called for in GAO Cost Estimating and Assessment Guide. (Recommendation 2)
Open

When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

Office of Federal Student Aid The Chief Operating Officer of FSA should update the cost estimate for the Next Gen program to ensure it accounts for all costs and incorporates the best practices called for in GAO Cost Estimating and Assessment Guide. (Recommendation 3)
Open

When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

Office of Federal Student Aid The Chief Operating Officer of FSA should revise the schedule estimate for the Next Gen FSA program to incorporate the best practices called for in GAO Schedule Assessment Guide. (Recommendation 4)
Open

When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

Office of Federal Student Aid The Chief Operating Officer of FSA should ensure that the PPO project defines metrics for tracking the baseline requirements and the rationale for using the metrics. (Recommendation 5)
Open

When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

Office of Federal Student Aid The Chief Operating Officer of FSA should ensure that the PPO project documents how detailed requirements meet the business need for the project. (Recommendation 6)
Open

When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

Office of Federal Student Aid The Chief Operating Officer of FSA should ensure that the PPO project captures work performance data and information to identify scope variances and their causes. (Recommendation 7)
Open

When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

Office of Federal Student Aid The Chief Operating Officer of FSA should ensure that the PPO project identifies success criteria and measurable project objectives. (Recommendation 8)
Open

When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

Office of Federal Student Aid The Chief Operating Officer of FSA should ensure that the PPO project updates the quality management section of its project management plan, and other related quality management documentation, to account for actual project results. (Recommendation 9)
Open

When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

Office of Federal Student Aid The Chief Operating Officer of FSA should ensure that the PPO project develops executable quality activities that incorporate FSA's quality policies into the project. (Recommendation 10)
Open

When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

Office of Federal Student Aid The Chief Operating Officer of FSA should ensure that the PPO project determines that contractor deliverables meet the terms of the contract prior to acceptance. (Recommendation 11)
Open

When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

Office of Federal Student Aid The Chief Operating Officer of FSA should ensure that the PPO project develops and maintains a stakeholder register that includes identification information or specifics around the level of engagement for each stakeholder. (Recommendation 12)
Open

When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

Office of Federal Student Aid The Chief Operating Officer of FSA should ensure that the PPO project defines specific strategies for engaging with stakeholders and updates its stakeholder engagement plan to reflect new or changed management strategies required to effectively engage stakeholders. (Recommendation 13)
Open

When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

Office of Federal Student Aid The Chief Operating Officer of FSA should ensure that the PPO project monitors work performance information that reflects the actual level of stakeholder support and engagement relative to the desired level during all phases of the project lifecycle. (Recommendation 14)
Open

When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

College Closures: Education Should Improve Outreach to Borrowers about Loan Discharges

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4 Open Recommendations
Agency Recommendation Status
Office of Federal Student Aid The Chief Operating Officer of Federal Student Aid should implement additional strategies to identify college closures in a timely manner. For example, Education could leverage available data to identify potential closures, record known closures as soon as possible, and impose penalties on colleges that do not report closures. (Recommendation 1)
Open

Education neither agreed nor disagreed with this recommendation, but identified steps it would take to address it. Education explained how the new data system it is implementing in fall 2022 will facilitate faster reporting of school closures. Further, Education described its plans to review cases where a school failed to submit a timely report to determine whether to initiate fine actions and stated it expects that this approach will deter schools from failing to report closures in a timely manner. Education released a solicitation in May 2022 for a new servicing system that includes several

Office of Federal Student Aid The Chief Operating Officer of Federal Student Aid should instruct loan servicers to use more frequent reports from Education on closures, such as the weekly reports, to send notifications to borrowers of their potential eligibility for a closed school discharge earlier. (Recommendation 2)
Open

Education neither agreed nor disagreed with this recommendation, but identified steps it would take to address it. Education released a solicitation in May 2022 for a new servicing system that includes a requirement for servicers to monitor college closures on a weekly basis to identify borrowers that may be eligible for a closed school discharge. We will continue to monitor the development and implementation of the new servicing system.

Office of Federal Student Aid The Chief Operating Officer of Federal Student Aid should develop guidance for what information loan servicers should include in the notification letters they send to borrowers after a school closure informing them about their eligibility for a discharge. (Recommendation 3)
Open

Education neither agreed nor disagreed with this recommendation, but identified steps it would take to address it. The agency released a solicitation in May 2022 for a new servicing system that includes a requirement for servicers to use a new notification letter template developed by Education that includes the key information we highlight in our report that borrowers need to make an informed decision. Education stated it has also shared the template with its current servicers. We will continue to monitor the development and implementation of the new servicing system.

Office of Federal Student Aid The Chief Operating Officer of Federal Student Aid should ensure additional outreach is provided to at-risk borrowers who are potentially eligible for a closed school discharge. At a minimum, this should include additional communication to borrowers with student loans in delinquency or default. (Recommendation 4)
Open

Education neither agreed nor disagreed with this recommendation, but identified steps it would take to address it. The agency released a solicitation in May 2022 for a new servicing system that includes a requirement for contractors to proactively remind borrowers about their eligibility and associated benefits of the loan discharge in all borrower communications, as well as a requirement for servicers to provide this information when an eligible borrower contacts the servicer's call center. These actions are positive steps that would benefit borrowers if Education implements the new servicing

Note: the list of open recommendations for the last report may continue on the next page.

Have a Question about a Recommendation?

For questions about a specific recommendation, contact the person or office listed with the recommendation. For general information about recommendations, contact GAO's Audit Policy and Quality Assurance office at (202) 512-6100 or apqa@gao.gov.