NAICU Washington Update

GAO Monitoring COVID Emergency Funding

September 02, 2021

In a periodic review of the Department of Education’s implementation of the three major coronavirus pandemic relief bills (CARES, CRRSAA and ARP), the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that a small percentage of institutions received more funds than they were allocated. 

As part of a government-wide review, GAO’s analysis of the Department’s procedures for approving and distributing Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds (HEERF) found that 262 of 4,764 institutions, or 5.5 percent, were improperly awarded too much relief funding. Upon further analysis, institutions were identified and the errors were corrected.   

In its report, the GAO noted that the Department needed better processes to guard against errors when disbursing funds to institutions.  The GAO also recommended that the Department “design and implement procedures for regularly conducting quality assurance reviews of awarded amounts for all its higher education grants, including those issued through HEERF, to help identify and correct payments made in error.” 

Responding to the report, the Department stated that it is working to improve these processes.  The Department’s full response is included in the report. 

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