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
State Financial Aid at LIM College


Issued: October 1, 2015
Link to full audit report 2015-T-2

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

Background
TAP is the largest student grant program administered by the Higher Education Services Corporation (HESC) and is designed to help eligible students pay postsecondary tuition charges in New York schools. HESC also administers a variety of State scholarship programs. Schools receiving State financial aid payments are responsible for certifying student eligibility. LIM College (LIM) was founded in 1939, and was originally known as the Laboratory Institute of Merchandising. The school is located in midtown Manhattan, and educates students through an integrated approach utilizing the classroom, internships, and the fashion industry at large. LIM offers seven undergraduate programs approved by the State Education Department, these programs include fashion merchandising, management, marketing, and visual merchandising. Annual tuition for a full-time student is approximately $23,650 and the school’s enrollment as of fall 2014 is about 1,500 undergraduate students. For the three academic years ended June 30, 2013, the school certified 1,442 awards totaling $2.1 million that were paid to the school on behalf of 538 students. We reviewed a sample of 50 randomly selected awards paid during that period, as well as other awards paid to these students through fall 2013.

Key Findings

  • We determined that LIM's certification procedures for State financial aid 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 nine awards totaling $12,009 that school officials certified in error.

Key Recommendations

  • The Higher Education Services Corporation should recover $12,009 plus applicable interest, from LIM and work with LIM officials to help ensure that they fully credit student accounts for TAP awards within the required time frames.
  • The State Education Department should work with school officials to help ensure future compliance with the State financial aid certification requirements cited in the report.

Other Related Audits/Reports of Interest

Tuition Assistance Program - LaGuardia Community College (2013-T-4)
Tuition Assistance Program - Stony Brook University (2013-T-2)
Tuition Assistance Program - DeVry College of New York (2014-T-2)
Tuition Assistance Program - Barnard College (2015-T-1)



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