The Office of Inspector General (OIG) Hotline is available for anyone suspecting fraud, waste, or abuse involving U.S. Department of Education funds or programs to provide their concern to the OIG. Complaints or concerns received through the Hotline are evaluated, consistent with established agency performance measures published in the OIG Annual Plan, and may be referred for OIG investigation, audit, inspection or other review.
Not all complaints filed with the OIG will generate an investigation, audit or inspection by the OIG. Matters may be referred to another office within the U.S. Department of Education or to an external entity as appropriate.
The OIG Hotline does not provide updates for information regarding the status of complaints. for more information concerning OIG activities, please see the OIG's Semi-Annual report to Congress.
Report Fraud, Waste and Abuse. To report fraud, waste, abuse, misuse or mismanagement of U.S. Department of Education (ED) program funds (this could include complaints concerning employees, fund recipients, educational institutions, contractors, collection agencies, or lending institutions), please use the online Hotline Complaint Form (see box below).
Select the link below, complete and submit your complaint form
If you prefer, you may contact the Inspector General's Hotline by:
Calling the OIG Hotline's toll free number 1-800-MIS-USED. Hotline Operators take calls during the hours of Monday and Wednesday 9:00 AM until 11:00 AM, Eastern Time; Tuesday and Thursday, 1:00 PM until 3:00 PM, Eastern Time except for holidays.
Downloading a hardcopy of the Hotline Complaint Form, and completing, mailing or faxing to:
Office of Inspector General
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue,S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20202-1500
Fax: (202) 245-7047
Your report may be made anonymously or in confidence. No classified information should be submitted to the Hotline. If your complaint involves classified information, please submit your contact information to the Hotline (via phone or complaint form) and request that you be contacted to make separate arrangements so we can receive your complaint.
For Law Enforcement Agencies in need of immediate assistance, please contact the nearest OIG field office.
To report suspected fraud, waste or abuse involving other Inspector General agencies, click this link for a directory:
The following form is only for a contractor who has credible evidence that a principal, employee, agent, or subcontractor of the Contractor has committed a violation of the civil False Claims Act or a violation of Federal criminal law involving fraud, conflict of interest, bribery, or gratuity violations in connection with the award, performance, or closeout of a contract or any related subcontract. Please fill out this form: Contractor Business Ethics Compliance Program and Disclosure Form, which is located above iin the Resource Box.
Report Whistleblower Reprisal. To report whistleblower reprisal prohibited by the Whistleblower Protection Act, Presidential Policy Directive/PPD-19, Section 1553 of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), or Section 828 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013 (NDAA), please use the Whistleblower Reprisal Complaint Form (see below box).
Select the link below to download the whistleblower reprisal complaint form
If you are a U.S. Department of Education employee, former employee, or applicant for employment who has been reprised against for protected whistleblowing, you may be entitled to relief under the Whistleblower Protection Act, and should also submit a complaint to Office of Special Counsel (OSC). Please see below for additional information about your rights under the Whistleblower Protection Act.
If you are a U.S. Department of Education employee, former employee, or applicant for employment who has been subject to an action affecting your Eligibility for Access to Classified Information (security clearance) as reprisal for whistleblowing, you may be entitled to relief under Presidential Policy Directive/PPD-19. Please see below for additional information about your rights under PPD-19. No classified information should be submitted or referenced on the complaint form. If your complaint involves classified information, please submit your contact information to the Hotline (via phone or complaint form) and request that you be contacted to make separate arrangements so we can receive your complaint.
If you are an employee of non-Federal entity that receives U.S. Department of Education funds (for example, a grantee or contractor) who has been reprised against for protected whistleblowing, you may be entitled to relief under the Section 1553 of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) or Section 828 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013 (NDAA). Please see below for additional information about your rights under ARRA and the NDAA.
ARRA Whistleblower Protections for Non-Federal Employees
Under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), an employee of a non-Federal employer that received ARRA funds, such as a private company or a State or local government, who reports gross mismanagement, gross waste, substantial and specific danger to public health or safety, abuse of authority, or violation of law, rule, or regulation, relating to ARRA funds or contracts, may not be discharged, demoted or otherwise discriminated against because of his or her disclosure. Please be aware that most Department of Education programs are no longer funded by ARRA; for example, Pell grants under the Higher Education Act have not been ARRA-funded since June 30, 2011.
Under ARRA, the OIG has jurisdiction to investigate whistleblower complaints alleging reprisal for protected disclosures related to Department of Education ARRA funds. To file a complaint, you must complete the Whistleblower Reprisal Complaint Form (see above box).
NDAA Whistleblower Protections for Non-Federal Employees
Under the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013 (NDAA), an employee of a Federal contractor, subcontractor, or grantee, such as a private company or a State government, who reports gross mismanagement, gross waste, substantial and specific danger to public health or safety, abuse of authority, or violation of law, rule, or regulation, relating to Federal funds or contracts, may not be discharged, demoted or otherwise discriminated against because of his or her disclosure. Disclosures must be related to contracts, subcontracts, or grants awarded or modified, or task orders entered, on or after July 1, 2013, to be protected under the NDAA. Please be aware that disclosures by employees of subgrantees are not covered under the NDAA. Additionally, to be protected under the NDAA a complaint must be brought within three years after the date on which the alleged reprisal took place.
Under the NDAA, the OIG has jurisdiction to investigate whistleblower complaints alleging reprisal for protected disclosures related to Department of Education funds. To file a complaint, you must complete the above Whistleblower Reprisal Complaint Form (see above box).
Presidential Policy Directive/PPD-19
PPD-19 prohibits any action affecting a Federal employee's eligibility for access to classified information (security clearance) that was taken in reprisal for a protected disclosure. Under PPD-19, as part of a review process for employees to appeal actions affecting their security clearance, the OIG will investigate whether there was a prohibited reprisal.
Whistleblower Protection Act (WPA)
The Whistleblower Protection Act (WPA) protects Federal employees and applicants for employment who lawfully disclose information they reasonably believe evidences a violation of law, rule, or regulation, gross mismanagement, a gross waste of funds, an abuse of authority or a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety. Under the WPA, certain federal employees may not take or fail to take, or threaten to take or fail to take, any personnel action against an employee or applicant for employment because of the employee or applicant's protected whistleblowing. See 5 U.S.C. § 2302(b)(8).
Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act (WPEA)
On November 27, 2012, President Obama signed the WPEA into law to strengthen protections for Federal employees who report fraud, waste and abuse. The WPEA:
- Clarifies the scope of protected disclosures; the disclosure does not lose protection because:
- the disclosure was made to someone, including a supervisor, who participated in the wrongdoing disclosed;
- the wrongdoing being reported has previously been disclosed;
- of the employee's motive for reporting the wrongdoing;
- the disclosure was made while the employee was off duty;
- the disclosure was made during the employee's normal course of duty, if the employee can show that the personnel action was taken in reprisal for the disclosure;
- of the amount of time which has passed since the occurrence of the events described in the disclosure.
- Protects disclosures that an employee reasonably believes are evidence of censorship related to research, analysis, or technical information that causes, or will cause, a gross government waste or gross mismanagement , an abuse of authority, a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety, or any voilation of law;
- Expands the penalties imposed for violating whistleblower protections;
- Establishes a Whistleblower Protection Ombudsman in certain OIGs for a five year period.
Whistleblower Protection Ombudsman
The Whistleblower Protection Ombudsman (WPO) educates agency employees on prohibitions on retaliation for protected disclosures. Additionally, the WPO educates employees who have made or are contemplating making a protected disclosure about their rights and about remedies against retaliation for protected disclosures. The WPO is not a legal representative, advocate, or agent of the employee or former employee.
To contact OIG's WPO please call (202) 245-6900.
WPEA also requires that any non-disclosure policy, form, or agreement (NDA) include the statement copied below, and provides that NDAs executed without the language may be enforced as long as agencies give employees notice of the statement.
Any NDA executed without the below language should be read as if the following language as if were incorporated into the NDA:
Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989, Pub. L. No. 101-12, as amended by Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2012, Pub. L. No. 112-199, codified at 5 U.S.C. 2301 et seq.
Notification and Federal Employee Antidiscrimination and Retaliation (No FEAR) Act of 2002, Pub. L. No. 107-174, codified at 5 U.S.C. 2301 note
The Inspector General Act of 1978, Pub. L. No. 95-452, as amended, codified at 5 U.S.C. app. 3
Section 7211 of Title 5, United States Code (governing disclosures to Congress)
Section 1034 of Title 10, United States Code, as amended by the Military Whistleblower Protection Act (governing disclosure to Congress by members of the military)
Intelligence Identities Protection of Act of 1982, codified at 50 U.S.C. 421 et seq. (governing disclosures that could expose confidential Government agents)
The criminal statutes of Title 18 protecting against disclosures that may compromise national security, specifically, sections 641, 793, 794, 798 and 952
Section 4(b) of the Subversive Activities Act of 1950, codified at 50 U.S.C. 783(b)
Executive Order No. 13526, Classified National Security Information
Executive Order No. 12968, Access to Classified Information
Education Administrative Communication Systems (ACS) Directive OIG: 1-102, Cooperation with and Reporting to the Office of Inspector General
Education Administrative Communication Systems (ACS) Directive OIG: 1-102, Procedures for Handling Office of Inspector General Hotline Referrals
Education Department Handbook OM-01: Handbook for Classified National Security Information
Office of the Special Counsel
The Office of Special Counsel (OSC) is an independent federal agency that investigates and prosecutes prohibited personnel practices by federal agencies, including whistleblower retaliation. If you believe you have been subject to retaliation for protected whistleblowing contact OSC, 1730 M Street, N.W., Suite 218, Washington, DC 20036-4505, 202-254-3600 (Phone), 800-872-9855(Toll Free), 800-877-8339 (Federal Relay Service), www.osc.gov.
For more information on WPA and WPEA protections please use the links provided below to download a copy of the OSC pamphlet and monograph.
Whistleblower Protection Presentation (MS Powerpoint)
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