ERIC Number: ED466038
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2002-Mar
Reference Count: N/A
Education Financial Management: Weak Internal Controls Led to Instances of Fraud and Other Improper Payments. Report to Congressional Requesters.
Calbom, Linda M.
This report to Congressional Requesters is concerned with internal control problems found in the U.S. Department of Education. Significant internal control weaknesses in the U.S. Department of Education's payment processes and poor physical control over its computer assets made the department vulnerable to (and in some cases resulted in) fraud, improper payments, questionable purchases, and lost assets. These weaknesses have affected the U.S. Department of Education's ability to provide reliable financial information to decision-makers both inside and outside the agency and to maintain the financial integrity of its operations. Instances of fraud were identified in the grant and loan areas, and pervasive control breakdowns and improper payments in other areas, particularly involving purchase cards. Ineffective controls were identified in the third-party draft process, so the U.S. Department of Education eliminated their use. Recommendations include conducting onsite investigations at institutions where improper disbursements of Pell Grants were found; implementing an effective review-and-approval process to ensure that approving officials are adequately trained in and knowledgeable of their disbursement duties and responsibilities; and enhancing security procedures over computer storage rooms. Appendices contain descriptions of grant and loan programs reviewed; review objectives, scope, and methodology; comments from the Department of Education; and General Accounting Office contact information and staff acknowledgements. (RT)
Descriptors: Educational Finance, Elementary Secondary Education, Financial Problems, Fraud, Government Publications, Higher Education, Money Management
U.S. General Accounting Office, P.O. Box 37050, Washington, DC 20013 (first copy free; additional copies $2 each; 100 or more mailed to single address discounted 25 percent). Tel: 202-512-6000; Tel: 202-512-2537 (TDD); Fax: 202-512-6061; Web site: http://www.gao.gov.
Publication Type: Legal/Legislative/Regulatory Materials
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: General Accounting Office, Washington, DC.