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Audit of Massasoit Community College Objectives, Scope, and Methodology

An overview of the purpose and process of auditing Massasoit Community College.

Table of Contents

Overview

In accordance with Section 12 of Chapter 11 of the Massachusetts General Laws, the Office of the State Auditor has conducted a performance audit of certain activities of Massasoit Community College (MCC) for the period July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2019.

We conducted this performance audit in accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards. Those standards require that we plan and perform the audit to obtain sufficient, appropriate evidence to provide a reasonable basis for our findings and conclusions based on our audit objectives. We believe that the evidence obtained provides a reasonable basis for our findings and conclusions based on our audit objectives.

Below is a list of our audit objectives, indicating each question we intended our audit to answer and the conclusion we reached regarding each objective.

Objective

Conclusion

  1. Did MCC grant eligible earned credits to students transferring to MCC, in accordance with the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education’s (DHE’s) “MassTransfer Policy Guidelines,” DHE’s “Community College Transfer Principles,” and MCC policy?

Yes

  1. Did MCC certify the completion of the MassTransfer Block on students’ transcripts in accordance with DHE’s “MassTransfer Policy Guidelines”?

Yes

  1. Did MCC administer eligibility requirements within the Commonwealth Commitment Program in accordance with DHE’s “Commonwealth Commitment Implementation Guidelines”?

Yes

  1. Did MCC provide eligible Commonwealth Commitment Program students with a 10% per semester rebate on tuition and fees in accordance with DHE’s “Commonwealth Commitment Implementation Guidelines”?

Yes

 

To achieve our objectives, we gained an understanding of MCC’s internal control environment related to the objectives by reviewing MCC’s policies and procedures, as well as inspecting documents, conducting observations, and performing inquiries with MCC’s staff and management. We also evaluated the design, implementation, and operating effectiveness of controls over the Commonwealth Commitment Program.

Additionally, we performed the following procedures to obtain sufficient, appropriate audit evidence to address the objectives.

MassTransfer Program

  • To determine whether students who transferred to MCC received all credits they were entitled to receive, we selected a nonstatistical random sample of 60 of the 819 students who transferred to MCC from other Commonwealth public colleges and universities during the audit period. We reviewed the students’ prior college transcripts and compared them to the transfer credits received according to their MCC transcripts to determine whether they received credit for eligible courses or alternative sources, such as Advanced Placement tests or College Level Examination Program tests.
  • To determine whether MCC tracked students to ensure successful completion of the MassTransfer Block, we selected a nonstatistical random sample of 50 of the 573 students who transferred from MCC to four-year Commonwealth educational institutions during the audit period. We reviewed whether the Registrar’s Office properly certified transcripts with the designation of MassTransfer Block Completion by verifying that the courses completed according to the MCC transcripts met the requirements of the “MassTransfer Policy Guidelines.”

Commonwealth Commitment Program

  • To determine whether MCC properly administered eligibility requirements within the Commonwealth Commitment Program, we selected a nonstatistical random sample of 15 of the 93 students enrolled in the program during the audit period. (We obtained a list of these 93 students from MCC.) We confirmed that they were eligible to participate in the program by reviewing the eligibility requirements on the Commonwealth Commitment Participation Checklist used by the dean of Student Enrollment and the associate director of Transfer Affairs to conduct end-of-semester eligibility reviews. We verified that each applicant we selected was a Massachusetts resident, was enrolled in an approved pathway, completed at least 12 credits per semester, maintained full-time continuous enrollment, and had a cumulative grade point average of 3.0. We determined that MCC retained Commonwealth Commitment Program applications that were completed and signed by both students and advisors. We verified that students’ information from the application, such as intended pathways and transfer colleges, was accurately entered in Banner.1 We also reviewed the email notifications informing students of acceptance or denial for the program. Finally, we determined that MCC retained Commonwealth Commitment Program applications for students who were not eligible to participate in the program during the audit period, and we determined why they were ineligible.
  • To determine whether MCC gave eligible Commonwealth Commitment Program students a 10% per semester rebate on tuition and fees, we selected a nonstatistical random sample of 35 of 108 refunds provided to Commonwealth Commitment Program students during the audit period. We verified that students met program eligibility requirements, as described in the bullet above. We determined the accuracy of the refund amounts by recalculating them according to the student account summary records.

Whenever sampling was used, we applied a nonstatistical approach, and as a result, we will not project our results to the entire population.

Data Reliability

We reviewed certain general information system controls (including access controls, security management, configuration management, segregation of duties, and contingency planning) over Banner to determine the reliability of the data therein.

To assess the reliability of MCC’s list of 93 Commonwealth Commitment Program students from the audit period, we selected a random sample of 10 students and traced their names to Commonwealth Commitment Program applications. We also traced their names and identification numbers to Banner to confirm that they were classified as Commonwealth Commitment Program students.

To assess the reliability of the list of 573 students who transferred from MCC to four-year Commonwealth higher-education institutions during the audit period, we selected a nonstatistical random sample of 20 students and traced their names and identification numbers to Banner to confirm that they were classified as Mass Transfer students.

To assess the reliability of the list of 819 students who transferred to MCC from other Commonwealth public colleges and universities during the audit period, we selected a nonstatistical random sample of 20 students and obtained from MCC the scanned copies of the academic transcripts from their prior institutions. We then traced the students’ names, their identification numbers, and the names of the prior institutions to MCC transcripts to confirm the accuracy of the list.

To assess the reliability of the Banner list of 108 refunds paid to eligible Commonwealth Commitment Program students during the audit period, we reconciled all 108 refunds to the list of 93 Commonwealth Commitment Program students from the audit period. We also randomly selected 10 refunds and traced them to student account summaries that had been printed from Banner to ensure the accuracy of the refund calculations.

Based on these data reliability procedures, we have determined that the data were sufficiently reliable for the purposes of our audit.

Conclusion

Our audit revealed no significant instances of noncompliance that must be reported under generally accepted government auditing standards.

1.     Banner is the database system of record for MCC’s administrative activities and student files. It is designed to link various integrated modules, including modules for registration, student billing, and financial aid, to the college’s finance system.

Date published: April 20, 2021
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