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IPFS News Link • Government Grants

Department of Education Misappropriated $73 Million in COVID Payments, Report Finds

• By Robert Schmad

The audit found that the ED's Office of Postsecondary Education (OPE) "did not always prevent or timely identify and correct duplicate HEERF grant awards, and that OPE did not consistently document activities taken to correct duplicate awards."

The mistakenly distributed funds were part of the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF). HEERF was intended to help colleges and universities cope with "the uncertainty and ripple effect of the coronavirus (COVID-19) on institutions of higher education, staff, faculty, students, and parents."

Roughly $76 billion was distributed as part of this program.

Per the OIG report, 15 institutions submitted two applications for the same grant, which the DOED approved, and nine only filed one application but received two grants from the DOED.

Sixteen of the affected institutions did not spend the duplicate funding, three returned duplicate funding they had spent, and three drew duplicate funding which was subsequently reallocated correctly.