An adult undergraduate student signs up for an online college class and uses federal grant dollars to pay his tuition. After a few months, his instructor certifies that he completed the course. Taxpayer dollars were exchanged. Was enough education received in return?
Enter the Office of Inspector General (OIG) from the U.S. Department of Education. An independent watchdog agency, OIG is charged with ferreting out waste and abuse of taxpayer dollars in both K–12 and postsecondary education. Some 230 employees, including agents who wear badges and carry guns, conduct forensic audits and shoe-leather investigations to ensure public funds and programs are efficient and effective. OIG is funded by and reports directly to Congress, recovers $2 for every $1 spent on its efforts, and has proven a powerful arm to find and end fraud.