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Audit of the Framingham State University Objectives, Scope, and Methodology

An overview of the purpose and process of auditing the Framingham State University

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 Framingham State University (FSU) 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 our audit objective, indicating the question we intended our audit to answer and the conclusion we reached regarding the objective.

Objective

Conclusion

  1. Does FSU administer the A2B Degree Program according to the Department of Higher Education’s “MassTransfer Policy Guidelines”?

Yes

 

We gained an understanding of the internal control environment we deemed significant to our audit objective through interviews, observations, and review of applicable policies and procedures. In addition, we performed procedures to obtain sufficient, appropriate evidence to address our audit objective.

To determine whether FSU students who were enrolled in the A2B Degree Program had fulfilled initial program enrollment requirements and received the benefits to which they were entitled, we performed the following procedures.

We received a list of transfer students who applied to, were accepted by, and attended FSU. From the list, we selected a nonstatistical random sample of 30 out of the 68 students who were enrolled in the A2B Degree Program. For each student in our sample, we received and reviewed the final transcript from the student’s community college, the MassTransfer application, and the acceptance letter to confirm that the student matriculated from the community college to the university within one year of graduation. We reviewed the transcript from each student’s community college to confirm that each student’s final grade point average (GPA) was over the minimum to receive program benefits and that each student had a minimum of 60 credit hours. We also reviewed the student application files to confirm that the application essay requirement was waived for MassTransfer applications. We reviewed each student’s community college transcript and FSU transcript to confirm that each student received credit for all courses transferred from the community college. Finally, we reviewed course enrollment records from Banner1 data to confirm that each student was coded with “MTAP,” which identifies a student as a MassTransfer student in FSU’s system.

To determine whether students who were enrolled in the A2B Degree Program received tuition waivers if they met eligibility criteria, we performed the following procedures.

Using a list of all courses taken by students in the A2B Degree Program during the audit period, we identified 150 class enrollments by students who were enrolled in the A2B Degree Program and might be eligible for tuition waivers. We selected a nonstatistical sample of 45 from this list of 150 class enrollments. For each student enrollment in our sample, we reviewed the student’s bills and FSU transcripts to confirm that the student was enrolled in state-funded daytime academic programs and had a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 at the end of the previous year, which would entitle the student to a tuition waiver at the end of the completed semester.

Because we used a nonstatistical sampling approach for both of our tests, we cannot project the results to the entire population.

Data Reliability Assessment

We reviewed general information system policies and procedures and tested certain general information technology controls, including security awareness training, access rights, and application controls for the Banner, Slate,2 and PowerFAIDS3 systems. For our access rights testing, we reviewed access for terminated users, new users, and users changing roles in all three systems. In addition, we interviewed FSU officials who were knowledgeable about the data.

To test the reliability of the data from the Banner, Slate, and PowerFAIDS systems, we conducted electronic testing of each system to ensure that there were no missing data and that the data fell within the audit period.

To verify the completeness and accuracy of the list of students enrolled at FSU in the MassTransfer Program, we selected a sample of 50 students from the list and traced student information from the list to student applications and transcripts from the Banner, Slate, and PowerFAIDS systems. Further, we selected a sample of 50 students from the applications and transcripts and traced the student information to the electronic list of students from the Banner, Slate, and PowerFAIDS systems.

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.     FSU uses the Banner system for student records, including financial aid, course enrollment, and billing.

2.     FSU uses Slate to receive applications from potential students, notify students of application status, and collect data on potential students.

3.     FSU uses PowerFAIDS to administer financial aid received for students.

Date published: November 23, 2020
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