Tuition Assistance Program - Higher Education Services Corporation


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NYS Comptroller


Taxpayers' Guide to State and Local Audits

Tuition Assistance Program - Higher Education Services Corporation
Dowling College

Issued: November 05, 2013
Link to full audit report 2012-T-2

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

Dowling College (Dowling) is an independent, coeducational college located in Suffolk County. Founded in 1955, Dowling offers Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctoral degrees in several disciplines through Dowling’s fours schools: Arts and Sciences, Aviation, Business, and Education. Undergraduate tuition for full-time study is about $12,700 per semester. Current enrollment is about 2,000 students. 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, 2011, Dowling certified 5,661 TAP awards totaling $8.1 million that were paid to the school for 2,152 students. We reviewed a sample of 125 randomly-selected TAP awards paid to 123 students, as well as other awards to these students through spring 2012.    

Key Findings

  • We determined that Dowling was overpaid $191,020 because school officials incorrectly certified students as eligible for TAP awards.
  • Incorrect certifications include five students who received awards but did not meet the requirements for full-time; four students who did not maintain good academic standing; two students who were not credited with their awards; and one student who had not declared a major by the beginning of her junior year.  
  • SED and HESC agree with the audit recommendations.     

Key Recommendations

  • The Higher Education Services Corporation should recover $191,020 plus applicable interest, from Dowling College.  
  • The State Education Department should ensure that school officials comply with requirements relating to full-time attendance, good academic standing, and declaring a major by the junior year.

Other Related Audits/Reports of Interest

Higher Education Services Corporation:SUNY FIT (2010-T-4)
Higher Education Services Corporation: The New School (2010-T-5)
Higher Education Services Corporation: SBI Campus (2011-T-1)

State Government Accountability Contact Information:
Audit Director: Frank Patone
Phone: (212) 417-5200; Email:
Address: Office of the State Comptroller; Division of State Government Accountability; 110 State Street, 11th Floor; Albany, NY 12236