Delivering A Government of the Future that is more effective, efficient, and supportive of economic growth has been a consistent priority for this Administration. A strong partnership with America’s colleges and universities is vital to this mission. Colleges and universities deliver cutting-edge research and education that keep the United States on the forefront of scientific and technological innovation.
As part of the Administration’s ongoing efforts to reduce burdens on Federal contractors and grant recipients, and as part of our ongoing process for the Retrospective Review of Regulations, or “lookback,” today we are inviting the nation’s colleges and universities to share their ideas and suggestions on how to improve the efficiency of the Federal contracts, grants, and other award programs in which they participate. Suggestions can be provided online at www.cao.gov.
In mid-October, the Office of Management and Budget (“OMB”) will review the input it receives to identify specific suggestions and ideas that can be turned into burden-reducing solutions without compromising accountability and integrity. This process will help us to gain a better understanding of the compliance burdens facing colleges and universities with Federal contracts and grant awards, as well as enable us to find ways to standardize data, eliminate unnecessary duplication, and reduce compliance costs.
Today’s announcement is a part of the National Dialogue we launched in May 2015 to identify effective steps to streamline reporting requirements and reduce other compliance costs for Federal contractors and grantees. This initiative is also part of the Administration’s biannual retrospective review of regulations. Retrospective review, or lookback, is a process in which agencies examine regulations currently in place, determine their effectiveness, and update any deemed necessary. The practice is meant to strengthen the efficiency and usefulness of the regulatory process. University management of Federal awards is an example of the type of regulated program that we believe would benefit from reexamination. This dialogue will allow those directly affected to provide comprehensive feedback on the current regulations and processes for universities and possible updates that could make those rules more effective and less burdensome.
The Federal Government’s partnership with America’s colleges and universities through a variety of research grant programs remains strong but perhaps not as efficient and beneficial for American taxpayers as it could be. University management of Federal contracts, grants, and other awards requires several layers of reporting to multiple agencies, and the costs of unnecessary duplication within and across colleges and universities can be substantial. Resources that should be going to education and research are thereby diverted to less productive activities. Some of this duplication and inefficiency results from a lack of clear compliance standards, while in other cases the burdens result from accrued legacy requirements and processes that need to be reviewed and updated. Removal of unnecessary reporting burdens could free universities to further focus their resources on vital research and educational missions; to achieve this objective we need your help and engagement.
Please share your thoughts by visiting the dialogue at www.cao.gov.
Howard Shelanski is the Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs at the White House Office of Management and Budget.
David Mader is the Acting Deputy Director for Management at the White House Office of Management and Budget and Controller of the Office Federal Financial Management.
Anne Rung is the Administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy at the White House Office of Management and Budget.