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VETERANS BENEFITS ADMINISTRATION Education Service Outreach Section AVECO Conference St Louis, MO Compliance Surveys.

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Presentation on theme: "VETERANS BENEFITS ADMINISTRATION Education Service Outreach Section AVECO Conference St Louis, MO Compliance Surveys."— Presentation transcript:

1 VETERANS BENEFITS ADMINISTRATION Education Service Outreach Section AVECO Conference St Louis, MO Compliance Surveys

2 VETERANS BENEFITS ADMINISTRATION -Objectives -SCO turnover rate -VA enrollment statistics -Purpose and Authority -Access to Institutional Records -Jurisdiction of Regional Processing Offices -St Louis RPO survey data -VA Fiscal Year Schedules/Types of compliance surveys -VA Education Benefit Chapters - Surveys -PL (SAA & VA conduct surveys) -Who conducts surveys -Preparation, Scheduling, Conducting, & Post Survey Training Overview

3 VETERANS BENEFITS ADMINISTRATION Compliance surveys have five principal objectives: (1)To verify the propriety of payments of educational benefits to eligible individuals under the provisions of the laws administered by VA; (2) To provide a reasonable basis for cooperating with SAAs; (3) To assist school or training officials and eligible individuals in better understanding their responsibilities and the procedural requirements of VA; (4) To determine, on the basis of facts disclosed from document reviews and personal visits, whether there are deviations from the responsibilities and requirements by eligible individuals, schools or training establishments; and (5) To assure that proper action is promptly taken through appropriate channels for the correction of existing discrepancies, or for the discontinuance of benefits in the event correction is not accomplished. Objectives of Compliance Surveys

4 VETERANS BENEFITS ADMINISTRATION -Generally the turnover rate of designated VA School Certifying Officials is approximately 30% annually. -New SCO training is a continuing requirement -VA compliance surveys can be of assistance to a new SCO however compliance surveys are conducted by ELR, ECSS, and SAA Consultants -ELR is a valuable resource for training -VAONCE -Certifying enrollment data to VA -Role of SAA and ECSS is generally not to provide in depth certification training Training Overview

5 VETERANS BENEFITS ADMINISTRATION Enrollment Certification VA Form , Enrollment Certification states the SCO/Institution is certifying: Exercised reasonable diligence in meeting all applicable requirements for the following seven (7) criteria:

6 VETERANS BENEFITS ADMINISTRATION Enrollment Certification -The institution has exercised diligence in meeting all applicable requirements of Title 38 USC and any failure by the institution to meet any requirements of the law will be reported promptly to VA -The institution agrees to report promptly to VA any enrollment change and any change due to unsatisfactory progress, conduct or attendance. Promptly means within 30 days of the enrollment change. Except for students receiving benefits under Chapter 33, the institution need not report an enrollment change for a student who was in full-time attendance before the change and in fulltime after the enrollment change.

7 VETERANS BENEFITS ADMINISTRATION Enrollment Certification -The 85/15% enrollment ratio requirement has been satisfied -Student certified is not an owner or officer of the school nor is the student certified as an official authorized to sign enrollment certifications -The institution holds no power of attorney agreement authorizing the institution to negotiate VA educational assistance allowance checks -No course certified is a repetition of any course previously satisfactorily completed except as permitted by VA regulations -The course or courses certified (added: excluding DEEMED approved institution degree programs) are approved by the State Approving Agency and are generally acceptable to meet requirements for the student’s objective

8 VETERANS BENEFITS ADMINISTRATION VA education benefit chapters reviewed on compliance surveys are: Chapter 30 – MGIB Chapter 32 – VEAP Chapter 33 – Post-9/11 GI Bill Chapter 35 – Dependent Education Assistance Chapter 1606 – Selected Reserves Chapter 1607 – REAP (VRAP administered under Chapter 30 – ended March 014 Fry Amendment administered under CH33 CH33TOE and Yellow Ribbon Program Excluded: Chapter 31 Vocational Rehabilitation Benefit Benefit Chapters

9 VETERANS BENEFITS ADMINISTRATION Overview of institutional activity and enrollment activity based on calendar year 2013: 3,138 – number of IHL and NCD schools active during calendar year ,084 – number of VA beneficiaries who received VA education benefits during calendar year 2013 Number of schools with 100 plus VA students – 561 (18%) Number of students in receipt of benefits at the 561 schools – 237,300 (83%) Number of schools with 1 – 10 VA students in receipt of benefits – 1,314 (42%) ENROLLMENT ACTIVITY St Louis VA RPO

10 VETERANS BENEFITS ADMINISTRATION Total of 6,663 IHL and 3,083 NCD schools active meaning VA students received benefits IHL -public – 35% -private profit – 27% -pvt non profit - 38% NCD -public – 20% -private profit – 73% -private non profit – 7% ENROLLMENT ACTIVITY Nationwide Data (April 2014)

11 VETERANS BENEFITS ADMINISTRATION Chapter 30 35,897 Chapter 3141,479 Chapter 32 2 Chapter , % Chapter 35 59,023 Chapter ,451 Chapter TOTAL743,339 * Excess of $29 billion in expenditures since 8/2009; Overall enrollment has increased approximately 200% since August 2009 and over 1 million received benefits in FY13. ENROLLMENT ACTIVITY National Totals (April 2014)

12 VETERANS BENEFITS ADMINISTRATION Compliance surveys are conducted in order to ensure that schools and training establishments, and their approved courses, are in compliance with all applicable provisions of the laws administered by VA. Authority: Title CFR M22-4 Purpose and Authority

13 VETERANS BENEFITS ADMINISTRATION Access to Records CFR – Title 38 provides VA & SAA access to any institutional records as condition of approval VA and SAA exempt from FERPA concerning privacy of student records Access to VA and non VA student academic and financial records Access to review Institutional Advertising Materials Principles of Excellence Student Interviews

14 VETERANS BENEFITS ADMINISTRATION Access to Records The Buckley amendment (Public Law ) requires that institutions receiving Federal funds administered by the Department of Education must obtain the student's consent to release information from school records. It has been determined that school records relating to VA benefits fall into the "financial aid" category and are therefore exempt from the provisions of the Buckley amendment. Therefore, the VA (and SAA) shall have access to the records of VA beneficiaries as well as non-VA students without the written consent of the student in order to monitor the school's compliance with the law.

15 VETERANS BENEFITS ADMINISTRATION VA Regional Processing Offices and Jurisdictions

16 VETERANS BENEFITS ADMINISTRATION St Louis RPO The jurisdiction of the RPO contains 18 States- The Education Service Outreach Section currently has a total of 27 staff for which there are 18 ELR’s and 6 full time Education Compliance Survey Specialists (ECSS) This section is responsible for oversight and maintaining the approval data base for all institutions and training establishments in the region – needed for RPO claims processing of applications and enrollment certifications to support approved facilities State Approving Agency Consultants are responsible for institutional approval and also conduct compliance surveys for VA Also VA conducts compliance surveys, EO investigations, and participates in numerous local and regional SCO workshops and other organizations Responsible for SAA contract administration for 19 contracts

17 VETERANS BENEFITS ADMINISTRATION St Louis RPO There also are 19 State Approving Agencies (55 SAA staff) for the 18 States responsible for approval of institutions and training establishments – ELR is Contracting Officer Technical Representative for oversight of performance and reimbursement of expenses. FY13 scheduled compliance surveys total 1,657 includes 17 Vocational Flight Schools, 607 On the Job and Apprenticeship training establishments, and the balance of surveys are at 1,033 IHL and NCD schools.

18 VETERANS BENEFITS ADMINISTRATION Types of Surveys VA compliance surveys are conducted at the following types of active facilities as of October 1, 2013 (FY14) –Institutions with 300 plus VA certified VA beneficiaries – 60% –Institutions of Higher Learning – (less than 300) – as required –Non College Degree Institutions – 60% –Vocational Flight Training Schools – 50% –Training Establishments – 25% Apprenticeship (APPR) On-the-Job training (OJT) Federal and Nationally approved OJT and APPR facilities – excluded in FY14 – Director, Education Service, may act for the Secretary and may waive compliance surveys at institutions with a demonstrated record of compliance. St Louis CELO did request ELR staff to review and submit waiver requests for schools that had met demonstrated record of compliance – meaning no compliance survey at these institutions in FY14.

19 VETERANS BENEFITS ADMINISTRATION Effective October 1, 2011 per Public Law both VA and State Approving Agency (SAA) staff conduct compliance surveys. Noted facts that: - sample student size decreased effective 10/1/13 for schools with higher VA student enrollment - institutional source documents may not be required to be retained by VA or SAA following on site compliance surveys - Increased efforts to conduct remote surveys in FY14 Who Conducts Compliance Surveys

20 VETERANS BENEFITS ADMINISTRATION Each survey conducted by VA consists of a random sample of VA student records for those who have been certified and awarded benefits at that institution. Sample size is based on total VA student awarded enrollment total. NOTE: We review minimum of 10 VA student records unless there are fewer than 10 students enrolled (excluding Chapter 31) Purpose of the sample size is to validate and confirm institutional certifications and practices – to ensure accurate and timely reporting to VA by the designated SCO. Surveys

21 VETERANS BENEFITS ADMINISTRATION -Survey Preparation -Scheduling survey appointments with Institutions -Conduct Survey -Institutional Records provided -Entrance Briefing -Review of Records -Other aspects of compliance survey – non VA student record, advertising, 8794 up to date, VA work study, current catalog & student handbook -Academic term dates (calendar), total enrollment -Student Interviews – private profit institutions -Exit Briefing -Post Survey Requirements -Discrepancy referrals (approval & payment) -Compliance survey acknowledgement letter The Compliance Survey

22 VETERANS BENEFITS ADMINISTRATION -Institutional Records for Sample Student Records: -Copy of unofficial transcript -Copy of Degree Audit Report (DAR) -Copy of Student Account Ledger -Verification of prior credit evaluations -Copy of Student term registration schedules -Identifying start date, end date -Identifying modality of instruction -Captures non-standard term dates by subjects - Progress Standards (GPA) -Obtaining LDA or last activity to confirm withdraw of subjects for student records Training Overview

23 VETERANS BENEFITS ADMINISTRATION Guidance to SCO Records to review prior to certification Ensure student has applied and accepted as a student Prior credit evaluation completed or pending Degree program approved Student term registration schedule – Confirm modality of instruction – Confirm length of period to certify – Confirm subjects apply to program DAR – Degree Audit Record Student Account Ledger for charges – net charges

24 VETERANS BENEFITS ADMINISTRATION -Institutional Records for- -Types of and evidence of institutional advertising -Updated Designation of Certifying Official form -Current Catalog and student handbook -Copy of current student enrollment agreement or contract if appropriate -NCD programs as necessary – weekly scheduled hours of instruction -VA Form Conflicting Interest Certification for private institutions as appropriate -Non VA student record review to confirm charges same or similar to VA student enrollment Training Overview

25 VETERANS BENEFITS ADMINISTRATION -Institutional Records for- -VA work study student records as appropriate -Institutional monitoring systems -Institutional tracking systems -Total student enrollment count -85/15 compliance -Power of Attorney disclaimer -Method of instruction (on line, hybrid, blended, practical) -Student has applied and been accepted -Matriculated into approved program/objective -Non-accredited Institutions – -Restrictions on modality of instruction -Pro-rata refund of unused tuition -Timely refunds of unused tuition -Verification of enrollment limitation Training Overview

26 VETERANS BENEFITS ADMINISTRATION Compliance Survey Findings Overall the findings have been very good. Common errors involve: – Not reporting changes or terminations (occasional instances or for all students) – Not reporting net charges correctly or YRP contributions incorrect – Not reporting unearned F grades – discontinued per VACO policy Nov 2013 – Not reporting distance learning correctly – Late reporting of enrollments or enrollment changes to VA – Failure of institution to evaluate or monitor prior credit evaluations – Certifying credits that do not apply to program requirements – Certifying remedial subjects when offered on line – Incorrectly reporting LDA – last day of attendance on withdrawing – Certifying incorrect program name or type of training – Not reporting unsatisfactory progress or probation – Lack of institutional records to support certifications to VA – Certifying programs not approved by VA or SAA

27 VETERANS BENEFITS ADMINISTRATION -Majority of compliance surveys we conduct involve travel meaning a number of institutions may be scheduled for a given week (Monday – Friday). We strive to not schedule at institution peak workload periods however this may not always occur based on travel plans. -VA and SAA will call the primary SCO to schedule a date(s) and time for conducting the survey in addition to providing institution with names of students in the sample size to be reviewed. -A letter or will be furnished the SCO of the student names and the institutional records to copy for our review. -The institutional records copied will be retained by VA and SAA to include in our compliance survey records – PII data is safeguarded and necessary as internal quality reviews by VA are conducted to ensure all aspects of the compliance survey were accurately reviewed and completed. (procedures changed for FY14) PII data can be shredded following a reasonable period from date of closed survey (normally within 90 days) Surveys - Scheduling

28 VETERANS BENEFITS ADMINISTRATION The onsite compliance survey may involve 1 or more individuals based on the size of the sample VA student records to review. We will schedule an entrance briefing with the primary SCO and other institutional staff to describe and explain purpose of our visit and to confirm the requested records were provided for our review. The second step is to review the student records and compare to VA Form and VA Form b submissions to validate accurate and timely reporting to VA. Questions and confirmation of additional data will be made to the SCO during the on site compliance survey to validate last date of attendance, withdraw dates, or any other action requiring justification or clarification. The last step on the on site survey will be the exit briefing. The purpose of the exit briefing is to provide institution with survey results based on the findings with emphasis to identify the root cause of the exceptions. Conducting Survey

29 VETERANS BENEFITS ADMINISTRATION VA and SAA will prepare narrative reports for the survey findings. Findings of reporting discrepancies will involve referrals to the RPO for award actions Findings of no reporting discrepancies however late reporting is noted and evaluated Findings of approval criteria is referred to the SAA at all institution is for appropriate review, investigation, and necessary corrective action Our internal reports capture primary causes or root causes for non compliance discrepancies found. Training of SCO’s is often required due to an estimate of a 30% annual turnover of designated certifying officials. A letter is sent to the institution to acknowledge the compliance survey that conveys the results of our visit. (Normally discrepancy issues are noted during our exit briefing) Post Survey Actions

30 VETERANS BENEFITS ADMINISTRATION Evidence of non compliance may involve overpayments to both institutions and students noted on compliance surveys. Again summary on types of reporting discrepancies but not all inclusive are provided on the next slide. Overall the results of our compliance surveys have been good. Noted is additional action can be taken by expanding the number of student records to review based on a finding of 30% or greater reporting discrepancies. Also a total reporting error of 50% or greater may develop into a 100% review of VA student records. Post Survey Actions

31 VETERANS BENEFITS ADMINISTRATION Compliance Survey Findings Overall the findings have been very good. Common errors involve: – Not reporting changes or terminations – Not reporting net charges correctly – Not reporting unearned F grades – change as of Nov 2013) excluded for those IHL’s that do not have required taking of attendance for all students – Not reporting distance learning correctly – Late reporting of enrollment and enrollment changes to VA – Failure to monitor prior credit evaluations – Certifying credits that do not apply to program requirements – Certifying remedial subjects when offered on line – Incorrectly reporting LDA – last day of attendance on withdrawing – Certifying incorrect program name or type of training – Not reporting unsatisfactory progress or probation – Lack of institutional records to support certifications to VA – Certifying programs not approved by VA or SAA

32 VETERANS BENEFITS ADMINISTRATION VA does maintain a tracking system on a fiscal year basis for all compliance surveys conducted as well as: - Name of institution and type - Date of compliance survey - Individual who conducted the survey - number of VA student records reviewed - number of VA students records with discrepancies This information is reported to VA Central Office, Washington, DC on a periodic basis to confirm institutional compliance. Summary

33 VETERANS BENEFITS ADMINISTRATION COMPLIANCE SURVEY


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