• Appropriations Law Training

      GAO’s Principles of Appropriations Law course acquaints participants with the purposes and principles of federal fiscal law. It blends lecture, case studies, and student participation in a way that engages and challenges participants, while maximizing the exchange of both practical and theoretical information.

    • Appropriations Law Decisions

      GAO’s Office of General Counsel issues decisions and opinions on appropriations law. Learn more >


  • GAO's Principles of Appropriations Law Course

    GAO attorneys teach the Principles of Appropriations Law (PAL) course at (1) GAO headquarters for two open enrollment classes each fiscal year and (2) other federal agencies for contracted group classes about a dozen times each fiscal year. The class is two and a half days; class runs from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on days 1 and 2 and from 8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. on day 3. Participants receive a manual with course notes and exercises. A course outline is below.

    Open enrollment training is held at the GAO building. These classes are held primarily for GAO employees; however, we allot 10 to 15 seats per class for non-GAO federal participants. If the open enrollment courses are full, you can request to be placed on the waiting list.

    We also schedule group training for federal agencies upon request. These classes are based on instructor availability. Recent attendees include staff from the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development; the Library of Congress; U.S. Marshals Service; and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

  • Registration

    Please e-mail PALCourse@gao.gov to request a seat in an open enrollment course or to request a group course. Please include your desired class date and contact information in your e-mail. We will let you know if we can accommodate the request.

    The cost for an individual seat in an open enrollment course is $450. The cost for groups is $4,000 (and additional costs apply for groups taught outside the Washington, D.C. area).

    Agencies must complete GAO’s interagency agreement form. Tuition for the course is paid through the IPAC (wire transfer) system or Pay.gov (if paying by credit card). Your agency will receive billing instructions for group courses after course completion. PLEASE NOTE THAT ALL PAYMENT PROCESSING WILL BE COMPLETED AFTER THE TRAINING FOR GROUP COURSES. Please do not attempt to pay for group training in advance through the IPAC system or Pay.gov, as these payments will be returned to your agency.

  • FY 2017 Open Enrollment Schedule

    Open enrollment classes will be taught April 11-13, 2017, and August 15-17, 2017.  You may request a seat in these classes beginning on October 1, 2016.  To request a seat, please email PALCourse@gao.gov on or after that date.  In your email, please indicate whether you are interested in registering for the April or August class.  We will begin notifying individuals in November regarding their enrollment status. If you are selected for a class, you will receive information on payment procedures at that time.

  • Course Outline

    1. Introduction to Appropriations Law
      1. Constitution and Major Statutes
      2. Annual Budget and Appropriations Process
      3. Budget Execution and Control
      4. Apportionment and Allotment
      5. Obligating and Disbursing Funds
      6. Impoundment
    2. Terminology and Classification
    3. Statutory Construction
    4. Availability of Appropriations: Purpose
      1. Purpose Three-Step Analysis
      2. Necessary Expense Rule
      3. Statutory Purpose Restrictions
      4. Other Available Appropriations
    5. Availability of Appropriations: Amount
      1. Antideficiency Act: Provisions, Exceptions, Sanctions and Applications
      2. Rules Against Augmentation, and the Miscellaneous Receipts Act
    6. Availability of Appropriations: Time
      1. General Rule
      2. Bona Fide Needs Rule
      3. Prohibition on Advanced Payments
      4. Account Closing Law
    7. Obligation of Appropriations
    8. Interagency Transactions