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NYS Comptroller

THOMAS P. DiNAPOLI

Taxpayers' Guide to State and Local Audits

Tuition Assistance Program - Higher Education Services Corporation
State Financial Aid at Barnard College


Issued: August 03, 2015
Link to full audit report 2015-T-1

Purpose
To determine whether Barnard College complied with the Education Law and the Commissioner of Education’s Rules and Regulations when certifying students for State financial aid.

Background
Founded in 1889, Barnard College (Barnard) is a women’s liberal arts college. Located in Manhattan, near Columbia University, students at both schools can enroll in each school’s courses. Barnard offers bachelor’s degrees in nearly 50 fields of the arts, humanities, social sciences and natural sciences. Annual tuition for full-time students is approximately $44,300 per year. The school’s enrollment as of fall 2014 was about 2,500 undergraduate students. TAP is an entitlement program designed to provide funds for paying tuition costs to eligible students. Schools receiving State financial aid awards certify student eligibility. For the three academic years ended June 30, 2013, the school certified 2,090 awards totaling almost $3.6 million that were paid to the school on behalf of 572 students. We reviewed a sample of 100 randomly selected awards paid during that period, as well as other awards to these students through spring 2015.

Key Findings

  • We determined that Barnard was overpaid $106,333 because school officials incorrectly certified students as eligible for State financial aid awards.
  • Incorrect certifications include 11 students who received awards but had not met the good academic standing requirements and six students who did not meet the full-time requirements.
  • Additional incorrect certifications include two students who had not met matriculation requirements and one student who had not demonstrated the required academic preparedness.

Key Recommendations

  • The Higher Education Services Corporation should recover $106,333 plus applicable interest, from Barnard.
  • The State Education Department should work with school officials to help ensure future compliance with the eligibility requirements cited in the report.

Other Related Audits/Reports of Interest

Tuition Assistance Program - New York Career Institute (2013-T-1) 
Tuition Assistance Program - LaGuardia Community College (2013-T-4)
Tuition Assistance Program - Pratt Institute (2013-T-3)
Tuition Assistance Program - DeVry College of New York (2014-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