Tuition Assistance Program - Higher Education Services Corporation

 

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NYS Comptroller

THOMAS P. DiNAPOLI

Taxpayers' Guide to State and Local Audits

Tuition Assistance Program - Higher Education Services Corporation
Pratt Institute


Issued: May 16, 2014
Link to full audit report 2013-T-3

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

Background
Pratt Institute (Pratt), with campuses in Brooklyn and Manhattan, is a postsecondary institution offering courses in art, design and architecture. The school has affiliated programs at the Pratt Munson Williams Proctor Art Institute in Utica and the Delaware College of Art and Design in Wilmington, Delaware. Pratt serves approximately 4,700 students and tuition for full-time study is about $41,000 per year. TAP is an entitlement program designed to provide funds for paying tuition costs to eligible students. Schools receiving TAP payments certify student eligibility. For the three academic years ended June 30, 2012, the school certified 2,550 TAP awards totaling $3.9 million that were paid to Pratt on behalf of 803 students. We reviewed a sample of 50 randomly-selected TAP awards paid for 49 students, as well as other awards paid to these students through fall 2013.

Key Findings

  • We determined that Pratt's certification procedures substantially complied with the governing Law and Regulations during the audit period for the transactions we tested. We therefore conclude there is low risk that a significant number of students certified for TAP were not eligible for awards.
  • Nonetheless, our tests did disclose 26 awards totaling $38,236 that school officials certified in error. After we discussed the identified errors, Pratt officials decertified one award for $2,450 and sent another student a $50 refund check.

Key Recommendations

  • The Higher Education Services Corporation should recover $35,736 from Pratt Institute, plus applicable interest and ensure that school officials comply with requirements relating to residency and crediting student TAP awards.
  • The State Education Department should ensure that school officials comply with requirements relating to good academic standing, matriculation and full-time attendance.

Other Related Audits/Reports of Interest

Medgar Evers College – Tuition Assistance Program (2011-T-4)
New York Career Institute – Tuition Assistance Program (2013-T-1)
Dowling College-Tuition Assistance Program (2012-T-2)


State Government Accountability Contact Information:
Audit Director: Frank Patone
Phone: (212) 417-5200; 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