A Look at the U.S. Department of Education

By Michael Hernandez

 

WASHINGTON, DC—The top takeaways of “The U.S. Department of Education” —an oversight report by OpenTheBooks.com (by Adam Adrzejewski, 2019) shows:

  1. The 25 colleges and universities with the largest endowments in the country reaped $6.9 billion in Department of Education funding despite holding a quarter-trillion in existing assets, collectively.
  2. The 50 lowest performing junior and community colleges in the nation received $923.5 million in Education Department student loans (FY2017-2018). Of these 50 schools, the 10 which received the most federal funding had a 12 percent graduation rate, on average.
  3. The Education Department overpaid $11 billion in Pell grants and loans over a two-year period (FY2016-FY2017).
  4. The average wage at the Education Department in FY2017 was $109,918. The average employee cost taxpayers $143,992, including benefits.  In May, 2018 the Education Department disclosed a decrease from 4,642 employees in 2012 to 3,818 employees.
  5. Federal funding of $10.5 billion flowed for for-profit colleges in FY2017. Just 10 for-profit schools received nearly 30 percent of this funding.
  6. The Education Department spent $1.6 billion hiring companies to collect and disperse federal student loans.
  7. Education Department employees spent 6,522 working hours (FY2016) doing union activities rather than working their department jobs. During this time, employees’ hourly wages are still taxpayer funded.
  8. The top five recipient states claimed 36 percent of all Education Department funding: California ($18.6 billion), Texas ($12.6 billion), New York ($11.9 billion), Florida ($9.5 billion) and Illinois ($7.2 billion).

The Department of Education was founded on Oct. 17, 1979 when President Jimmy Carter signed the Department of Education Organization Act into law.   The department’s mission has been “to promote student achievement and preparation for global competitiveness by fostering educational excellence and ensuring equal access.”

In its first year, the Education Department ran on a $14 billion budget.  The department’s operational funds increased at a steady pace for the next decade reaching $25 billion in 1990.  This budget reached n in 2006 and $138 billion in 2009 due to an additional $98 billion in federal stimulus funding.  Today, the Education department budget is approximately $115 billion; more than $100 billion larger than its initial budget.

Information for the OpenTheBooks.com report on The Department of Education was acquired via the Freedom of Information Act and the data used for this research was provide by the Office of Personnel Management and the Department of Education.  Student loan data was acquired through the Federal Student Aid Data Center.  Other data was compiled from the Congressional Research Service entitled “Improper Payment in High-Priority Programs:  In Brief.”

Adam Andrzejewski, successfully built a $20 million dollar business—Home Pages—which employed 160 and today is the nation’s largest publisher of community telephone directories.   In 2010, Adam ran for Governor of Illinois in the Republican primary.  He promised he would post “every dime online in real time.”   Adam founded OpenTheBooks.com to fulfill his campaign pledge.

Today, OpenTheBooks.com has posted nearly all disclosed federal checkbook vendor spending since 2000; 2.5 million employee salaries with five-year salary histories; 41 of 50 states checkbook vendor spending; 36 of 50 states with public salaries and/or pensions; and all federal campaign donations since 1979.

The OpenTheBooks report was made possible by the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006” sponsored by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Ok) and Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL).

Adam is married to his wife, Kerry, and father of three girls.  He is an avid runner, having run the Chicago Marathon on four occasions and is a lector at St. Isaac Jogues Catholic Church in Hinsdale, Illinois.

(Editor’s Note:  To see the full 40-plus page report published in April or to see additional reports go to: OpenTheBooks.com.)­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­

 

Michael Hernandez, Co-Founder of the Citizens Journal—Ventura County’s online news service; editor of the History Makers Report and founder of History Makers International—a community nonprofit serving youth and families in Ventura County, is a former Southern California daily newspaper journalist and religion and news editor. He has worked 25 years as a middle school teacher in Monrovia and Los Angeles Unified School Districts. Mr. Hernandez can be contacted by email at [email protected]


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