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
Wagner College


Issued: May 19, 2016
Link to full audit report 2015-T-3

Purpose
To determine whether Wagner 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. Wagner College (Wagner) is a four-year private college located on Staten Island. It offers programs in the arts, business, nursing, physician’s assistant and teacher education approved by the State Education Department. Annual tuition for a full-time student is approximately $42,000 and the school’s enrollment is approximately 1,700 undergraduate students. For the three academic years ended June 30, 2014, the school certified 2,148 awards totaling $3.0 million that were paid to the school on behalf of 635 students. We reviewed a sample of 150 randomly selected awards paid during that period, as well as other awards paid to these students through spring 2015.

Key Findings

  • We determined that Wagner was overpaid $97,947 because school officials incorrectly certified students as eligible for State financial aid awards.
  • Incorrect certifications include eight students who received awards but had not met the good academic standing requirements and three students who were not enrolled at Wagner for the semesters in question.
  • Additional incorrect certifications include two students who did not demonstrate their academic preparedness, one student for whom we found insufficient proof that she satisfied the New York State residency requirement, two students whose accounts were not fully credited with their State financial aid payment, and five students who did not meet the full-time requirements.

Key Recommendations

  • The Higher Education Services Corporation should recover $97,947, plus applicable interest, from Wagner.
  • The Higher Education Services Corporation and the State Education Department should work with Wagner officials to help ensure future compliance with the State financial aid requirements cited in this report.
  • Wagner officials should comply with the Education Law and the Commissioner of Education’s Rules and Regulations when certifying students for State financial aid.

Other Related Audits/Reports of Interest

Tuition Assistance Program - Metropolitan Learning Institute (2014-T-1)
Tuition Assistance Program - DeVry College of New York (2014-T-2)
Tuition Assistance Program - Barnard College (2015-T-1)
Tuition Assistance Program - LIM College (2015-T-2)
Tuition Assistance Program - Vaughn College of Aeronautics and Technology (2015-T-6)


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