GAO’s workforce is organized largely by subject area, with many of its employees working in one of 14 mission teams. Today we’ll be putting the spotlight on the Education, Workforce, and Income Security (EWIS) team, which focuses on programs and legislation that affect Americans’ quality of life from infancy to old age.
The EWIS team’s reports cover these issue areas:
- Education: We have reported on implementing “Common Core” curriculum standards, Department of Education loan practices, and training programs intended to assist military servicemembers in their return to civilian life.
- Benefits and Protections for Workers, Families, and Children: For example, we’ve looked at occupational hazards such as ammonium nitrate; fraud in the nation’s largest nutrition assistance program; and efforts to protect children from sexual abuse in schools.
- Social Security, Retirement, and Issues Facing an Aging Population: We’ve reported on the effects of student loan debt on Social Security benefits, how changes to retirement plans affect retirees and their families, and on combating elder financial exploitation.
You can learn more about our work by checking out our High Risk issue areas on Improving and Modernizing Federal Disability Programs and Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation Insurance Programs.
In fiscal year 2014, EWIS identified $376 million in financial benefits for the federal government as well as 41 other efficiencies. Directors from EWIS testified at 10 congressional hearings.
A Closer Look at an EWIS Report: Higher Education Affordability
As state funding for public colleges becomes increasingly limited, there are concerns that rising college costs may be making higher education unaffordable for many students and their families. We found that, starting in fiscal year 2012, student tuition made up a higher percent of public colleges’ revenue than state funding.
Excerpted from GAO-15-151
We identified several potential approaches the federal government could take to expand incentives to states to improve college affordability, such as
- creating new grants,
- providing more consumer information on affordability, or
- changing federal student aid programs.
Each of these approaches may have advantages and challenges, including cost implications for the federal government and consequences for students.