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February 7, 2008

DiNapoli: $3.2 Million in Tap
Overpayments to Business School

School Officials Incorrectly Certified Students as Eligible for TAP Awards

New York State Higher Education Services Corp (HESC) overpaid the New York Institute of English and Business (NYIEB) $3.2 million in Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) funds, according to an audit released today by State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli.

“TAP is supposed to provide educational opportunity,” DiNapoli said. “NYIEB officials wrongly certified that its students and its programs met the TAP requirements. TAP grants should only be given to eligible students enrolled in eligible programs. HESC should recover this money and help give eligible students a chance to go to college.”

DiNapoli’s office initiated this audit to determine whether NYIEB’s management complied with the State Education Law and the regulations set down by the State Education Department (SED) for certifying students as eligible for TAP awards. The audit covered the three academic years ending on June 30, 2005. The auditors recommended that HESC recover $3.2 million, nearly 74 percent of the TAP funds that were given to the school during that timeframe.

NYIEB is a not-for-profit business school that offers programs which are registered with the SED and provides eight different TAP eligible programs. TAP was established by the State Legislature in 1974 to help eligible New York State residents pay tuition at approved educational institutions in the State. Annual TAP grants, which do not have to be repaid, amount to as much as $5000 per student. In the year ending June 30, 2007, $831.2 million in TAP grants and scholarships were paid to colleges and other post-secondary schools on behalf of 321,000 students.

DiNapoli’s auditors recommended that HESC recover the $3.2 million, plus applicable interest, from NYIEB and to ensure that NYIEB comply with HESC requirements relating to the accurate reporting of tuition amounts and the crediting of TAP awards to students accounts. The audit also recommends that the SED ensure that NYIEB officials comply with the Department’s requirements relating to approved programs, full time attendance, matriculation, good academic standing, teachers’ licenses, and the accuracy of attendance registers.

DiNapoli noted that HESC and SED officials agree with the audit’s findings and recommendations, and have taken actions to implement them. A written response from both HESC and SED are included in the audit.

Click here for a copy of the audit.



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