WASHINGTON (AP) — An Education Department watchdog has found that the agency has not been properly screening its contractor employees.
The department’s Office of Inspector General says in a report released Wednesday that the agency’s financial aid office has not been following guidelines on hiring contractor staff. As a result, there is “increased risk” that some of those employees are working without appropriate security clearance. The watchdog found that the office was sometimes giving employees access to sensitive information without first checking their backgrounds, as well as disclosing sensitive information to non-U.S. citizens.
Department press secretary Liz Hill says the agency is working to correct the problems and security “remains a top priority.”
The office awards more than $120 billion a year in grants and loans to approximately 13 million students.