A recent audit of the Louisiana State University system found a lack of oversight of federal research funding, problems with maintaining student loan records, and inadequate controls over federal emergency funding and reporting.
Louisiana Legislative Auditor Mike Waguespack released a report on May 23 outlining the findings of a Louisiana State University system audit that looked at federal compliance and school finances.
Auditors found that while the system addressed and resolved findings from the previous year, new issues with federal monitoring and reporting requirements needed to be resolved.
The report claims that “The Pennington Biomedical Research Center (PBRC) failed to adequately monitor Federal Research and Development Cluster sub-recipients.
“PBRC did not have adequate controls in place to ensure that required audits were completed within nine months of the sub-recipient’s fiscal year-end,” according to the report.
As a result, the PBRC could not provide documentation for two of the 16 sub-recipients that showed the audits were conducted in accordance with federal regulations.
Auditors also found that Louisiana State University and A&M College (LSU A&M) did not have adequate controls in place to ensure the accuracy of federal Perkins loan records.
“In a test of 40 active Perkins LSU A&M loan student files out of a population of 2,114 files subject to Perkins Loans record keeping and record retention requirements, the repayment schedules of 37 (93%) n have not been kept in a fireproof safe in accordance with federal regulations. “wrote the listeners.
Auditors also found a missing repayment schedule, as well as a lack of required documentation for five of the 40 student records tested. The total number of records was 1,075.
Louisiana’s legislative auditor also found issues with the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund costs and reporting requirements.
“LSU A&M improperly requested and received reimbursement from the Higher Education Relief Fund for costs totaling $40,847 that did not meet program requirements,” the auditors wrote.
The issue was discovered in a sample of 29 LSU A&M HEERF transactions, drawn from a total population of 10,789 transactions.
Problems with HEERF’s reporting requirements centered on inaccurate quarterly reports and missed deadlines for publicly releasing the information.
A review of the LSU system financial statements showed that “account balances and transaction categories tested, as adjusted, are materially correct.”
Further financial analysis showed that system expenditures have increased by 18.8% since 2017, while state appropriations have decreased by 4.4%. During the same period, tuition fees increased by 18.7%, mainly due to the increase in enrollment, which increased by 21.5% since 2017.
LSU officials responded to the audit by promising to strengthen controls over subrecipient oversight processes at Pennington Biomedical Research Center and outlining several improvements to ensure compliance with federal Perkins loan requirements, including the outsourcing of services.
LSU also reimbursed the $40,897 to the U.S. Department of Education for the HEERF issue, trained the department’s business officers on the program, and added a secondary review to ensure “all lost earnings entries will be made for ensure compliance with HEERF guidelines,” according to a letter from Donna Torres, system vice president for finance.
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