VA Student Financial Aid

Opportunity to Reduce Overlap in Approving Education and Training Programs Gao ID: HEHS-96-22 October 30, 1995

Since the 1940's, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and its predecessor agencies have contracted with state approving agencies to assess whether schools and training programs offer classes of sufficient quality to merit VA education assistance benefits. GAO estimates that $10.5 million of the $12 million paid to these agencies in 1994 was spent to do assessments that overlapped those of the Department of Education. These assessments involved reviews of academic and vocational schools that were already accredited by Education-approved agencies. State approving agency efforts costing another $400,000 in 1994 may have overlapped assessments of apprenticeship programs done by the Department of Labor. The continued use of state approving agencies to do assessments that overlap other assessments does not appear to be a good use of scarce federal dollars. GAO suggests restricting state approving agency activity solely to those school and programs not subject to "gatekeeping" by the Department of Education.

GAO found that: (1) $10.5 million of the $12 million paid to SAA in 1994 was spent to conduct assessments already performed by the Department of Education; (2) these assessments involved reviews of accredited academic and vocational schools; (3) the remaining SAA assessment activities did not overlap the activities of other agencies, since they involved on-the-job training programs and unaccredited schools; and (4) although SAA use evaluation standards that differ from those of other reviewing agencies, SAA activity should be reduced to schools and programs not subject to Department of Education approval.


Our recommendations from this work are listed below with a Contact for more information. Status will change from "In process" to "Open," "Closed - implemented," or "Closed - not implemented" based on our follow up work.

Director: Team: Phone:

The Justia Government Accountability Office site republishes public reports retrieved from the U.S. GAO These reports should not be considered official, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Justia.