Howard University officials have confirmed that six employees lost their jobs after an investigation into the misappropriation of university financial aid funds.
University President Wayne A. I. Frederick has released a statement on the matter, saying the investigation took place between December 2016 and May 2017.
“The investigation found that from 2007 to 2016, University grants were given to some University employees who also received tuition remission,” according to the statement.
Because of this, some individuals received inappropriate refunds, as the combination of university grants and tuition remission exceeded the total cost of tuition.
Frederick also confirmed the misappropriated funds were from the institution itself and did not include federal or donor-sourced grants. In an effort to avoid this kind of problem in the future, Howard will be implementing new policies and procedures, including:
- Annual budgets for each category of financial aid are now loaded into the University’s Banner student information system by the University Budget Office consistent with the university’s overall financial aid budget.
- Approval for all awards of university grants are now reviewed and approved by the Budget Office prior to being awarded by the Financial Aid Office
- Approval for all donor-designated scholarship awards are now reviewed and approved by the Controller’s Office prior to being awarded by the Financial Aid Office.
- Approval for all grant-funded financial aid are now reviewed and approved by the University’s Grant Accounting Unit prior to being awarded by the Financial Aid Office.
- Access to the Banner financial aid module has now been limited to a small number of appropriate senior University individuals, with adequate third-party review and appropriate segregation of duties.
- An annual reconciliation of awarded financial aid to approved financial aid is now being conducted.
- Management has established proper reporting relationships and segregation of duties within the Financial Aid Office.
- Management is in the process of hiring for all remaining open positions in the Financial Aid Office and enhanced training on policies and procedures will be provided both to new hires and continuing employees.
- A new associate provost for enrollment management and a new chief compliance officer have been hired by the university.
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Born and raised in Compton, California, Jessica Bennett began her career as an intern at The Oakland Post, and later, The Source Magazine. She went on to write for respected hip hop publications such as DJ Booth and Hip Hop DX before becoming the Urban Editor of pop culture website, Wetpaint.com. She joined Ebony as the Entertainment Editor August 2017. Bennett has interviewed such names as Vanessa Williams, Spike Lee, Tyra Banks, Forest Whitaker, Magic & Cookie Johnson and several others.