Student loans and executive bonuses

By: Tonya Mead, CFE, PI, MBA, MA Educational Psychology

Runcie, the former Chief Operating Officer,  Office of Federal Student Aid, U.S. Department of Education resigned under a cloud bigger than imagined.  According to the OIG Inspector Tighe, “improper payments for the  Federal Direct Loan program swelled from $1.28 billion in 2015 to $3.18 billion in 2016 and from $562 million to $2.21 billion for the federal Pell Grant program under Runcie’s leadership.”

See here trends (graphs) in student financial aid defaults

As the improper payments increased, there should have been a converse relationship to Runcie’s performance bonuses. But that was not the case. Further, the duplicity with which political parties (Sen. Warren) charge the other as purveyors of fraud is sickening. Judicial Watch reported the annual breakdown of Runcie’s performance bonuses.

  • 2016 –> $76,000
  • 2015 –> $75,000
  • 2014 –> $75,000
  • 2013 –> $75,000
  • 2012 –> $60,000
  • 2011 –> $38,350
  • 2010 –> $33,535

I recall in the Harrison Ford movie (Clear and Present Danger) whereby the character portraying the president says, “This is our money…” I wonder if we as taxpayers realize too, that this is our money and resolve to stop:

  1. the out-of-control increases in college tuition
  2. the overly liberal student financial aid requirements and re-payment structures
  3. the misalignment of executive performance to student and organizational outcomes

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Resources (Thanks Judicial Watch for Bringing this to our Attention!)

Judicial Watch “Education Official Got Secret Cash Bonuses as Office Lost Billions to Fraud, Corruption,” May 31, 2017. Available at:

Tonya J. Mead, CFE, PI, MBA, MA, Certified K-12 Administrator and School Psychologist is author of Fraud in Education: Beyond the Wrong Answer and president of Shared Knowledge, LLC