- Associated Press - Tuesday, September 30, 2014

HOUMA, La. (AP) - A new state audit finds Fletcher Technical Community College undercharged students and didn’t comply with federal financial aid regulations.

The Courier reports (https://bit.ly/YMeTcp ) student technology fees, set at $5 per course credit hour by state law, were decreased to $4 per course credit hour by Fletcher’s Student Government Association in 2010. The lowered rate resulted in a loss of $60,913 over the next four years.

“FTCC management should ensure that student technology fees as approved by its student government association are in accordance with state law,” the audit states.

The issue is concerning, the audit states, because Fletcher has become more dependent on tuition and fees as state and federal revenues have declined.

Fletcher didn’t return nearly $20,000 in Pell Grant money on time to the U.S. Department of Education from students who withdrew from the two-year college, the audit states. The college also didn’t maintain financial aid money in an interest-bearing account and couldn’t provide evidence required by law for federal reporting, including information on enrollment, total tuition and fees, and federal work-study students.

The college couldn’t identify how six payments, totaling $136,491 in Pell Grant money, were individually doled out, the audit stated. Federal law states eligible students should receive the money within three business days of it being given to the college.

“We could tie it back in total to ensure the money was received, but we couldn’t identify if the student got the money within three days of the draw,” said Ernie Summerville, assistant financial director with the Louisiana Legislative Auditor’s Office, who worked on the state’s report.

According to the audit, noncompliance could result in the termination of financial aid programs.

Interim Chancellor Earl Meador said the college will file reports with the Department of Education following each disbursement of money.

Fletcher is negotiating with Coastal Commerce Bank about creating an investment-bearing account, Meador said.


Information from: The Courier, https://www.houmatoday.com

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