Understanding How Changes to the 477 Program May Affect Your Tribe

Public Law 115-93, Indian Employment, Training and Related Services Consolidation Act of 2017,  amended and expanded Public Law 102-477, Indian Employment, Training, and Related Services Demonstration Act of 1992.

Enacted in December 2017, the purpose of this law—also known as the 477 program—is to reduce administrative burdens while giving tribes more flexibility combining programs from federal agencies that provide them with employment, training, and related services.

Federal Agencies Subject to the Law

Federal agencies subject to the law for inclusion:

  • Department of the Interior
  • Department of Health and Human Services
  • Department of Labor
  • Department of Education

In addition to the original four, these departments are included in the new law:

  • Department of Justice
  • Department of Agriculture
  • Department of Commerce
  • Department of Energy
  • Department of Homeland Security
  • Department of Housing and Urban Development
  • Department of Transportation
  • Department of Veteran Affairs

Eligible Programs

Similar to the autonomy afforded by Public Law 93-638, Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act  (ISDEAA), tribal leaders can strategize based on the wide-ranging needs of their citizens to create one comprehensive plan incorporating programs, such as:

  • Providing job training
  • Creating or enhancing employment opportunities
  • Assisting with skill development
  • Encouraging self-sufficiency
  • Spurring economic development

Key Components of the Law

Streamlined Tracking

All program activities under a 477 plan—including budgeting, accounting, and reporting—can now be tracked as one fund. Tribes don’t need to track the source of funds from each federal agency, which means the 477 plan is considered a cluster and audited as one program during a single audit.

Indirect Cost Recovery

Tribes can recover 100% of the indirect costs incurred administering a 477 plan. The new law doesn’t override ISDEAA, however, which means contract-support costs are preserved for any Bureau of Indian Affairs programs that transfer to a 477 plan.

Fund Transfer

477 program funds can be transferred to tribes once an existing ISDEAA compact, contract, or funding agreement is in place. These funds are then available until spent.

Advanced Funding

Funding can be provided to tribes on an advanced funding basis. Tribes are authorized to retain all earned interest and may invest plan funds consistent with investment standards that typically apply to ISDEAA.

Matching Funds

Tribes have the flexibility to use certain 477 program funds as matching funds for other federal programs.

Waiving Administrative Requirements

Tribes can request to waive administrative requirements so that they can efficiently implement a 477 plan when submitting it for approval.

2017 OMB Compliance Supplement

The 2017 Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Compliance Supplement identified the 477 program cluster. Tribes reporting a 477 plan under Version Two are eligible to follow this new guidance:

  • Report a 477 cluster on one expenditures line in the Schedule of Expenditures of Federal Awards (SEFA) for each plan period.
  • In the SEFA notes, list the federal programs that are part of the 477 plan but don’t report the associated dollar amounts.

What’s Next

Tribes with existing 477 plans aren’t required to resubmit or modify those plans under the new law.

The BIA has indicated there will be no changes to existing 477 plans until it’s established a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with all 12 departments. The MOA is required to be secured by December 18, 2018.

We’re Here to Help

For more information about changes to your 477 plan, contact your Moss Adams professional.