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NYS Comptroller


Taxpayers' Guide to State and Local Audits

City University of New York
School of Professional Studies - Procurement Card and Travel Card Purchases

Issued: February 25, 2015
Link to full audit report 2013-S-39
Link to 90-day response

To determine if the City University of New York (CUNY) School of Professional Studies complied with the pertinent New York State and CUNY purchasing guidelines applicable to Procurement Card and Travel Card purchases. The audit covers the period April 1, 2009 through March 28, 2014.

The City University of New York School of Professional Studies (CUNY SPS or SPS) was founded in 2003 to meet the educational needs of working adults, organizations, and employers. In April 2014, CUNY SPS offered 15 degrees (nine bachelor’s and six master’s) as well as a number of certificate programs. The school’s enrollment has grown to over 2,200 students in the creditbearing programs and each year has more than 10,000 non-credit registrants. SPS’s revenues increased from $7.94 million in fiscal year 2009 to $17.54 million in fiscal year 2013. Its expenses increased from $8.11 million to $16.55 million for the same period. Over 70 percent of SPS’s revenues come from tax levy allocations.

When procuring goods and services, State agencies (including SPS) are required to follow prescribed State requirements. In addition, the State established the Procurement Card (P-Card) Program as an efficient and cost-effective way to expedite small-dollar purchases. Likewise, the Travel Card Program was created to provide employees with an efficient method to pay for workrelated travel expenses and reduce the amount of their out-of-pocket expenses when traveling on behalf of the agency. For the period April 1, 2009 to June 13, 2013, CUNY SPS made 2,107 P-Card purchases totaling about $2.4 million and 211 Travel Card charges totaling about $123,000.

Key Findings

  • CUNY SPS charged over $500,000 in advertising services to its State-issued P-Cards instead of contracting for these services, as SPS purchasing guidelines require.
  • For fiscal years 2009 to 2011, SPS used a P-Card to purchase a total of $283,701 in printing services from one vendor instead of engaging in the competitive bids process for printing services in excess of $5,000, as the New York State Printing and Public Documents Law requires.
  • A State-issued Travel Card was used to purchase several meals from New York City restaurants for employees who were not on travel assignments as well as to pay for the office’s holiday parties. The Travel Card was also inappropriately used to pay for lodging and airfare totaling $6,546 for seven persons, five of whom were not SPS employees.

Key Recommendations

  • Comply with State and CUNY procurement guidelines, including, but not limited to, using formal contracts for purchases, eliminating split-ordering, and obtaining competition among qualified vendors.
  • Ensure P-Cards and Travel Cards are used only for appropriate transactions.
  • Ensure that the P-Card monthly audits are conducted timely and appropriately.

Other Related Audits/Reports of Interest


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