LAFAYETTE — A recent audit of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette shows an $8 million error in the university’s reporting of tuition and fees for 2012-13 and weaknesses in its process for closing out grants.
The university overstated tuition and fees by more than $8 million on a federal report to the U.S. Department of Education for July 1, 2012, to June 30, 2013. The federal report — Fiscal Operation Report and Application to Participate — must be filed for the university to receive Title IV funding.
“Failure to accurately report amounts on the FISAP report results in a noncompliance with federal requirements and could affect future student financial assistance funding,” auditors wrote in the report.
University officials wrote letters to the legislative auditor in response to the findings.
Related to the tuition and fees reporting error, UL-Lafayette Financial Aid Director Cindy Perez wrote that the university implemented a corrective action plan to provide more oversight and review of the reporting process.
The data reporting error was unintentional, Aaron Martin, UL-Lafayette communications director, said in an email response Monday.
“The university has added a new control to prevent such a future error,” Martin said.
University officials disagreed with the audit’s findings related to weaknesses in its grant management.
The university hired a director in May 2013 for its new Office of Sponsored Programs Finance, Administration and Compliance who manages a staff of six: an accountant, two financial analysts, an office coordinator and two post-award specialists, wrote Jerry Luke LeBlanc, UL-Lafayette vice president of administration and finance.
The director implemented revised policies and procedures to strengthen control over grants management around the time the audit began, LeBlanc wrote.
“With adequate staffing in place and the implementation of these changes, the University does not concur that the identified items reflect a weakness in controls over grants during normal operations, but rather reflect this transition period,” LeBlanc wrote.
LeBlanc disputed other weaknesses identified in the audit related to grants, such as untimely billing and overbilling of grantors. LeBlanc said the auditors “failed to take into account the complex nature of sponsored projects.”