Auditor Bump Finds Questionable Use of ARRA Funds at Framingham State University
(Boston, MA-May 26, 2011)-State Auditor Suzanne M. Bump today released an audit critical of Framingham State University’s (FSU) use of federal stimulus funds under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).Auditors found that FSU used the funding to reimburse expenditures from the university’s Student Fee Grant Program, even though FSU did not have any formal written guidelines or criteria for awarding this grant money.
ARRA and the Office of the State Comptroller both require that colleges and universities develop and update written eligibility requirements or policies for awarding student grants.
“Without basic internal controls over the awarding of financial aid, the school incurs the risk that this valuable funding is not being properly expended,” said Auditor Bump.
For example, the audit found that 25% of 20 student files tested failed to meet the eligibility criteria, provided by FSU, for receiving student grants and FSU’s officials did not adequately document why the requirements were waived for some students.
Additionally, the audit cited continuing problems with FSU’s laptop loaner program. A 2010 audit revealed that the university had not properly reported the theft of five laptops valued at $6,856 as required by state law. Auditors cited thefts of additional laptops during the review period which also went unreported to the Auditor’s Office.
Auditor Bump is recommending that FSU formalize its student grant eligibility requirements, improve the process for recovering laptops from students who do not return them, and follow statutory reporting requirements for lost or stolen public property.