Podcast on Federal Oversight of Contractor Information Security Controls

GAO Podcast IconFederal agencies often rely on contractors to operate computer systems and process information on their behalf. Federal law and policy require that agencies ensure that contractors adequately protect these systems and information.

Hear our podcast with Greg Wilshusen, a director in GAO’s Information Technology team, who led a recent review of how well agencies oversee contractor-operated systems.

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Considering College Costs Beyond Tuition

thumbnail_adulteducationIf you’re heading to college this fall, you may be focused on the major costs—tuition and fees, possibly room and board. We have examined some of the other costs of college, such as textbooks and college debit cards, that can really add up if you’re not looking out for them. Here’s some information to help you manage those costs.
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Providing a Stable Education for Foster and Homeless Children

Education Thumbnail imageSchool should be a stable environment for all students. In two recent reports, we looked at how states addressed federal legislation intended, in part, to increase school stability for children in foster care and those experiencing homelessness. We also highlighted student, school district, and child welfare agency challenges in minimizing school changes for these students. Continue reading

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Protecting Workers’ Safety and Health

caution_sign_300_DPIThe unofficial end of summer, Labor Day is a holiday for celebrating the economic and social contributions of the American worker. It’s also a good time to think about protecting those workers from occupational hazards. We have many federal safety and health standards to protect workers at more than 8 million U.S. worksites, but accidents at worksites are not uncommon. For example, in an 18-month period from 2006 to 2008, a dozen workers died on construction sites in Las Vegas, Nevada, and in 2013, a tragic explosion at a fertilizer storage and distribution facility in Texas killed and injured 14 people. Continue reading

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It’s Hurricane Season—Informing Federal Disaster Management

weatherHurricane season is well under way, and we’re highlighting some of our reports and resources that can help inform federal disaster management in events such as hurricanes.

2014’s first named storm, Hurricane Arthur, has already found a place in the record books. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Weather Service, July 3rd—when Hurricane Arthur made landfall in North Carolina—is the earliest recorded date for a hurricane to hit North Carolina. Continue reading

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Podcast on Education of Homeless Students

GAO Podcast IconIn the 2011 to 2012 school year, there were more than 1 million homeless students in the United States. The Department of Education established a grant program to help homeless students gain access to public education.

Hear our podcast with Kay Brown, a director in GAO’s Education Workforce and Income Security team, who led a recent look at oversight and implementation of the program.

 

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Partnering Strategies for Arts and Cultural Organizations

To mark Art Appreciation Month, we’re highlighting a report that reviewed congressionally-chartered organizations, and identified some strategies that arts and cultural organizations have used to leverage non-federal resources.  In June 2013, we reported on how a few of these organizations—including the Smithsonian and the National Gallery of Art—used partnering to: Continue reading

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GAO’s Financial Markets and Community Investment Team

housing thumbnailGAO’s workforce is generally organized into 14 mission teams. Today we’ll be putting the spotlight on the Financial Markets and Community Investment (FMCI) team. FMCI supports Congress by helping ensure the effectiveness of regulatory oversight in financial and housing markets, and assessing the effectiveness of federal initiatives aimed at small businesses, state and local governments, and communities. Continue reading

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What Exactly are “Improper Payments”?

thumbnail_auditingImproper payments are always an area of concern for the federal government. These include overpayments, underpayments, payments made to ineligible recipients, or even payments that weren’t properly documented. While fraudulent payments are considered improper, not all improper payments are the result of fraud. For example, improper payments can be a result of mismanagement, errors, or fraud and abuse. For fiscal year 2013, federal agencies reported nearly $106 billion in estimated improper payments. While we don’t determine amounts of improper payments by cause, we do highlight areas of concern and make recommendations for reducing many types of improper payments, both at specific agencies and government-wide. Continue reading

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GAO’s Internship Experience

gao1As summer’s barbecues and beach days wind down, so do the experiences of a select group of graduate and undergraduate students in GAO’s Student Intern Program. We talked to some of them about their experiences. Continue reading

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