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Task Force Finds E.D. Could Cut $2.83 Billion

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Washington--A task force composed of business executives told President Reagan last week that the Education Department could save taxpayers $2.83 billion over the next three years by adopting 60 cost-cutting measures.

"Although the department is--through its loan programs--a financial institution of substantial proportions, it lacks the experienced financial management, staff, and information systems characteristic of successful commercial banks," members of the President's Private Sector Survey on Cost Control said in their final report to Mr. Reagan.

The executives suggested that the department could save $1.19 billion over the next three years simply by consolidating its major student-loan programs into a single unit.

They also noted that the department's "emphasis on the prompt delivery of funds at the expense of accurate accounting procedures has resulted in repeated citations for excessive waste, fraud, abuse, and error" by the Office of Management and Budget, the General Accounting Office, and the department's own inspector general.

"A departmentwide renovation of management-information systems and internal controls" would result in a three-year net savings of $764-million, the executives said.

The cost-control task force released a preliminary version of its report on the department last June. (See Education Week, June 15, 1983.)--tm

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