An official website of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts
This page, Audit of Mount Wachusett Community College Objectives, Scope, and Methodology, is offered by

Audit of Mount Wachusett Community College Objectives, Scope, and Methodology

An overview of the purpose and process of auditing Mount Wachusett 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 Mount Wachusett Community College (MWCC) for the period July 1, 2016 through December 31, 2018.

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; the conclusion we reached regarding each objective; and, if applicable, where each objective is discussed in the audit findings.

Objective

Conclusion

1.    Does MWCC ensure that students participating in its early childhood education (ECE) programs are trained and screened before they participate in the programs’ required practicum courses at local daycare centers? Specifically,

 

a.    Do students successfully meet MWCC’s prerequisites before enrolling in practicum courses?

Yes

b.    Does MWCC perform Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) checks for students before they enter practicum courses at daycare centers?

Sometimes; see Finding 1 

2.    Are the auxiliary services, Mount Fitness Center (MFC) and the Green Street Cafe (GSC), managed and operated efficiently and effectively? Specifically,

 

a.    Do these auxiliary services have documented goals and objectives that are monitored?

Yes

b.    Are all costs that are associated with operating these auxiliary services included in financial management reports?

No; see Finding 2

c.     Do these auxiliary services analyze available system data to make potential operating decisions?

No; see Finding 3

3. Has MWCC designed an updated strategic plan to define and meet the objectives and goals of its mission?

Yes

 

We gained an understanding of the internal controls we deemed significant to our audit objectives by reviewing policies and procedures and conducting interviews with MWCC officials. We also evaluated the design and effectiveness of controls over practicum course registration and performed the following procedures to address our audit objectives.

Data Reliability

We performed a data reliability assessment of MWCC’s operating system (the Banner System) focused on testing controls (access controls, security management, contingency planning, and segregation of duties) for the period July 1, 2016 through December 31, 2018. 

To validate expenditure data recorded in the Banner System, we traced accounts payable transactions to supporting documentation (accounts payable vouchers) and traced accounts payable vouchers to the Banner System. We also performed electronic testing to check for duplicate records and other abnormalities. To validate revenue data recorded by MFC and GSC, we traced revenue transactions to supporting documentation (cash register receipts and daily deposit slips). We also performed electronic testing to check for duplicate records and other abnormalities. To validate the list of students enrolled in Practicum I or Practicum II courses, we checked for duplicate students and other abnormalities. We determined that the information obtained from the Banner System for our audit period was sufficiently reliable for our audit work.

Practicum Course Registration

To determine whether students successfully met MWCC’s prerequisites before enrolling in practicum courses, we selected a nonstatistical random sample of 10 of the 95 students enrolled in Practicum I or Practicum II courses during the audit period. We reviewed these students’ transcripts from the Registrar’s Office to verify that they completed the prerequisite courses before enrolling in practicum courses. We also reviewed the transcripts to determine whether they had at least a C average.  We used nonstatistical samples; therefore, we could not project the results of our tests to the entire population. 

To determine whether MWCC performed CORI checks for students before they entered practicum courses at daycare centers, we requested and reviewed CORI reports for 100% of the 95 students enrolled in practicum courses during the audit period.

Auxiliary Services Operations

To determine whether auxiliary services (GSC and MFC) had documented goals and objectives, we interviewed the vice president of finance and administration (VPFA) as well as the directors of MFC and GSC.

To determine whether the goals and objectives of GSC and MFC were monitored, we reviewed MWCC-generated financial reports (trust fund reports) that were created for the board of trustees and used to periodically assess the operating performance of GSC and MFC.

To determine whether all costs associated with operating GSC and MFC were included in the trust fund reports, we requested and obtained complete accounting information for MFC and GSC from the Banner System and compared expenditures to the trust fund reports. We also met with the VPFA to inquire about assessing and allocating indirect costs to these services.

To determine whether GSC and MFC used available system data to make operating decisions, we interviewed the VPFA and the directors of GSC and MFC to determine the metrics used to measure operating performance. Further, we inquired of the VPFA how the financial and operational performance of GSC and MFC was monitored and whether performance metrics were used. In addition, we requested system data available for MFC and GSC and discussed the annual budget procedures that were in effect during the audit period.

To provide MWCC with a visualization of operating performance, we obtained GSC and MFC financial information from the college’s accounting system for fiscal years 2015 through 2018. Using this information, we prepared four-year financial trending reports to illustrate operating performance for these auxiliary services.

Strategic Plan

To determine whether MWCC designed a strategic plan to define and meet the objectives and goals of its mission, we reviewed the strategic plan for fiscal years 2015 through 2017, which was extended through fall 2019 by the Commonwealth’s Department of Higher Education.

We interviewed the vice president of planning and development to evaluate the recent activities for preparing an updated strategic plan.

Additionally, we contacted the Department of Higher Education’s associate commissioner for strategic planning and public program approval to verify the status of MWCC’s strategic plan.

Date published: March 31, 2020
Feedback