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August 7, 2009

 

DiNapoli: College Improperly Collected $1.5 Million in Tap Awards

HESC Should Recover Funds

Globe Institute of Technology (Globe) wrongfully accepted more than $1.5 million in Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) awards because school officials improperly certified students as being eligible for the program, according to an audit released today by State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli.

“TAP was created to help deserving students from lower-income backgrounds attend college,” DiNapoli said. “But taxpayers should not be funding colleges that fail to properly certify that their students are deserving of this money. College is getting more and more expensive, and TAP funds are limited. HESC should do everything it can to get this money back and make sure it’s used for deserving students.”

Looking at 200 randomly selected awards given in the three-year period ended June 30, 2006, DiNapoli’s auditors found that 28 TAP awards for 23 students should not have been granted.

Auditors determined that two awards were paid on behalf of students at the two-year school who did not provide valid proof of completing high school or passing an equivalency exam. Another 15 students provided affidavits stating they had graduated high school, but Globe did not provide any evidence to show it had tried to obtain the students’ high school credentials when they were admitted. One student did not provide any proof of having passed an equivalency test.

DiNapoli’s auditors disqualified one award because the student failed to maintain good academic standing. Four other awards were disallowed because they were given to students who were not taking enough credits to be considered full-time.

Based on the results of the 200 samples, plus another four awards examined outside the sample that were also disallowed, auditors estimate the Manhattan-based school should repay $1,563,144 plus interest to HESC.

Click here for a complete copy of the audit.

DiNapoli’s office has an audit unit dedicated to examining TAP on an ongoing basis. Since August 2008, the unit has conducted 6 TAP audits, including Globe, and has identified a total of nearly $8.9 million in TAP disallowances.

The State Comptroller audits the Tuition Assistance Program in accordance with a 1989 Memorandum of Agreement between the Office of the State Comptroller, the Higher Education Services Corporation, the State Education Department and the Division of the Budget. The audits are based on criteria established by the Higher Education Services Corporation and the State Education Department.


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