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
York College


Issued: January 11, 2017
Link to full audit report 2016-T-1

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

Background
York College (York) is a senior college within the City University of New York (CUNY). It was founded in 1966 and is located on a 50-acre campus in Jamaica, Queens, New York. York offers baccalaureate degrees in the liberal arts and sciences, business, health, teacher education and other professional programs. York is also home to the CUNY Aviation Institute and the Northeastern Regional Laboratory of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Annual tuition for a full-time student is approximately $6,330. For the spring 2016 semester, York enrolled approximately 6,770 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, 2014, the school certified 17,517 awards totaling over $33.2 million that were paid to the school on behalf of 7,037 students. We reviewed a sample of 75 randomly selected awards paid during that period, as well as other awards to these students through the fall 2015 semester.

Key Findings

  • We determined that York was overpaid $83,956 because school officials incorrectly certified some students as eligible for State financial aid awards.
  • Incorrect certifications include four students who received awards but did not meet the requirements for full-time status and three students who were not properly matriculated.
  • York posted “NC” (No Credit) grades to the transcripts for some students we reviewed. Under York’s grading policy, students who accumulate less than 28 credits and who failed a 100-Level course have their “F” grades automatically converted to NC grades up to two times for any particular course. Several of the students we sampled would have been ineligible for their TAP awards if their F grades had not been converted to NC grades.

Key Recommendations

  • The Higher Education Services Corporation should recover $83,956 plus applicable interest, from York.
  • York should comply with the State Education Law and the Commissioner of Education’s Rules and Regulations when certifying students for State financial aid.
  • The State Education Department and the Higher Education Services Corporation should work with school officials to help ensure future compliance with the eligibility requirements cited in the report and formally review and determine if York’s NC grading policy is consistent with the intent of the applicable TAP requirements and appropriate for State financial aid purposes.

Other Related Audits/Reports of Interest

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