Tuition Assistance Program - Higher Education Services Corporation

 

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Office of the New York State Comptroller

Taxpayers' Guide to State and Local Audits

Tuition Assistance Program - Higher Education Services Corporation
SBI Campus


Issued: July 2, 2012
Link to full audit report 2011-T-1

Purpose
To determine whether SBI Campus (SBI) management complied with the Education Law and the Commissioner of Education's Rules and Regulations when certifying students for State-funded Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) awards.

Background
SBI, an affiliate of Sanford Brown Institute, is located in Melville, New York. SBI was formed out of a merger with the Katharine Gibbs School in 2008. SBI offers nine associate degree programs and a medical assistant program that leads to a certificate. SBI offers continuous enrollment and accelerated study for its students. SBI's current enrollment is approximately 600 students and its tuition for full-time study is about $4,000 per term. TAP is an entitlement program designed to provide funds to cover tuition costs for eligible students. Schools receiving TAP payments must certify student eligibility. For the three academic years ended June 30, 2009, SBI certified 3,483 TAP awards totaling nearly $4 million. We reviewed a random sample of 200 TAP awards from that period, as well as other awards outside the three-year period that came to our attention during the audit.

Key Findings

  • We determined that SBI was overpaid $538,568 because school officials incorrectly certified students as eligible for TAP awards.
  • Incorrect certifications include eighteen students who received awards but did not meet the requirements for maintaining good academic standing. Eleven students did not meet the requirements to receive accelerated TAP payments. Four students did not meet the requirements for matriculation. Three students did not meet the requirements for full-time attendance.

Key Recommendations

  • The Higher Education Services Corporation should recover $538,568 plus applicable interest, from SBI for its incorrect TAP certifications and ensure that SBI officials comply with the requirements related to certifying accurate tuition amounts, crediting TAP awards and verifying students' residency and citizenship.
  • The State Education Department should ensure that SBI officials comply with the State Education Department requirements relating to matriculation, full-time attendance, good academic standing, and accelerated TAP payments.

Other Related Audits/Reports of Interest

Higher Education Services Corporation: TAP SUNY FIT Report 2010-T-4
Higher Education Services Corporation: TAP Professional Business College Report 2010-T-3


State Government Accountability Contact Information:
Audit Director: John Buyce
Phone:(518) 474-3271; Email: StateGovernmentAccountability@osc.state.ny.us
Address: Office of the State Comptroller; Division of State Government Accountability; 110 State Street, 11th Floor; Albany, NY 12236