Schools and Libraries Program: Application and Invoice Review Procedures Need Strengthening

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Description

A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "The Telecommunications Act of 1996 expanded the concept of universal telephone service to include telecommunication support services for eligible schools and libraries. Under this program, called the "e-rate program," schools and libraries can apply for discounts on telecommunications services, Internet access, and internal connections. GAO found that the Universal Service Administrative Company's (USAC) Schools and Libraries Division (SLD) committed more than $3.7 billion to applicants during the 1998 and 1999 program years. However, a significant amount of this money has not yet been paid out, even ... continued below

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United States. General Accounting Office. December 15, 2000.

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Description

A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "The Telecommunications Act of 1996 expanded the concept of universal telephone service to include telecommunication support services for eligible schools and libraries. Under this program, called the "e-rate program," schools and libraries can apply for discounts on telecommunications services, Internet access, and internal connections. GAO found that the Universal Service Administrative Company's (USAC) Schools and Libraries Division (SLD) committed more than $3.7 billion to applicants during the 1998 and 1999 program years. However, a significant amount of this money has not yet been paid out, even though the deadlines for applicants and vendors to use the funds has been extended more than once. In addition, more funding would be available for eligible requests if SLD's review procedures were more effective at identifying and denying ineligible requests. Despite procedures requiring reviewers to deny funding for ineligible items and to confirm that conditionally eligible services are being used according to program rules, GAO identified millions of dollars in funds incorrectly committed to ineligible products and services. Finally, SLD's practice of approving most vendors' invoices without reviewing how and where the committed funds are actually being spent leaves the program vulnerable to further funding errors and potential abuse."

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Government Accountability Office Reports

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for the U.S. Congress investigating how the federal government spends taxpayers' money. Its goal is to increase accountability and improve the performance of the federal government. The Government Accountability Office Reports Collection consists of over 13,000 documents on a variety of topics ranging from fiscal issues to international affairs.

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  • December 15, 2000

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  • June 11, 2014, 5:03 a.m.

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United States. General Accounting Office. Schools and Libraries Program: Application and Invoice Review Procedures Need Strengthening, report, December 15, 2000; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc294881/: accessed December 13, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.