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Goal 5:
Enhance the Quality of and Access to Postsecondary
and Adult Education |
Program Evaluations

Findings and Recommendations From
Program Evaluations, Studies, and Reports

Information that the Department uses to inform management and program improvements comes from many sources, including evaluations, studies, and reports that are Department-sponsored studies and those from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and the Office of Inspector General (OIG).  The following evaluations, studies, and reports were completed during FY 2005.

Audit Follow-up Process for Office of Inspector General Internal Audits in the Office of Postsecondary Education: [PDF, 296K]
Final Audit Report (ED-OIG/A19F0002)

This Office of Inspector General audit is a part of a review of the Department's internal audit follow-up processes being performed in four departmental offices.  Each assistant secretary is responsible for the overall audit follow-up process, determines the financial adjustments to be made to resolve findings in audit reports, and oversees the implementation of audit recommendations.  The Office of Inspector General determined that improvements are needed in the Office of Postsecondary Education's internal control over its audit follow-up process.

Case Management and Oversight's Monitoring of Postsecondary Institutions: [PDF, 296K]
Final Audit Report (ED-OIG/A04-D0014)

In this report, the Department's Office of Inspector General examined the Office of Federal Student Aid's Case Management and Oversight's use of program reviews and technical assistance and headquarters management controls over regional offices' monitoring of postsecondary institutions.  Case Management and Oversight's primary responsibility is to monitor postsecondary institutions' compliance with statutory and regulatory requirements for participation in Title IV programs.  The Office of Inspector General identified weaknesses in the Institutional Assessment Model used to identify and select institutions for review, regional office program review and technical assistance processes, and the monitoring of regional office operations.

Federal Family Education Loan Program: [PDF, 296K]
More Oversight Is Needed for Schools
That Are Lenders (GAO-05-184)

In FY 2004, lenders made about $65 billion in loans through the Federal Family Education Loan Program to assist students in paying for postsecondary education.  This report determined the extent to which schools have participated as program lenders, their characteristics, and federal statutory and regulatory safeguards that are in place to protect borrowers and taxpayers.  Under the Higher Education Act, Federal Family Education Loan Program lenders must submit annually audited financial statements and compliance audits.  As of FY 2004, 10 out of 29 school lenders had not submitted an audit for FY 2002.

Student Aid and Postsecondary Tax Preferences: [PDF, 296K]
Limited Research Exists on Effectiveness of Tools to Assist Students and Families Through Title IV Student Aid and Tax Preferences (GAO-05-684)

Title IV of the Higher Education Act provides federal assistance for postsecondary education to students and families through grant and loan programs.  While both Title IV and tax preferences provide assistance to students and families, tax preferences differ from Title IV assistance in the areas of timing, distribution, and students' and families' responsibility.  This report examines how Title IV assistance compares to that provided through the tax code, the extent to which tax filers effectively use postsecondary tax preferences, and reviews what is known about the effectiveness of federal financial assistance.  While tax preferences are of more recent origin than Title IV aid, the number of tax filers using preferences has grown quickly, surpassing the number of students aided under Title IV in 2002.

Student Financial Aid: [PDF, 296K]
Need Determination Could Be Enhanced Through Improvements in Education's Estimate of Applicants' State Tax Payments (GAO-05-105)

Most federal student financial aid is awarded based on the applicant's cost of college attendance less the amount of the student's and/or family's expected contribution.  The tax allowance effectively reduces the expected family contribution.  This report examines the Department's updating of tax data and the effects the update might have on financial assistance for aid applicants.  Had the Department updated the tax allowance annually, the family's expected contribution would have increased for a majority of aid applicants, with 38 percent of applicants either receiving less in Pell grants or becoming ineligible for them.