When the Feds Audit the Feds

admin ., Compliance

Posted:  October 6, 2015

By:  Jeff Megargell, HEAG Consultant

It might be difficult to track down the origin of the quote “nobody’s perfect,” but it tends to remain true, even at the highest levels of government. The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) recently conducted an audit of the Department of Education (ED) and found numerous cases in which ED failed to conduct the required follow-up on unpaid monetary recommendations by colleges, which led to potential errors of more than $1.3 billion.

The issue seems to have been ongoing, as OIG sampled five years of ED data for their audit. They discovered numerous discrepancies, such as files put in a “resolved” status for more than two years when they were still outstanding, with 35% of those same files still not finalized after four years. OIG cited a number of reasons for the ineffective follow-up process, from internal administrative weaknesses inside ED to established policies simply not being followed.

The OIG issued recommendations that, ironically, are similar to those that ED makes for schools on discovering typical higher education audit issues; they included improving the organization of internal documents within the department, updating policies and procedures, and conducting more staff trainings.

At HEAG, we take compliance with ED rules very seriously. For more information on dealing with a Department of Education audit or program review and how to finalize corrective action that may be levied upon your school, please contact us at 617-928-1975.