TSU Says It’s Fixing Issues Raised In State Audit

TSU acknowledges the state's findings and says it will avoid similar problems in the future. Credit: TSU Media Relations

TSU acknowledges the state’s findings and says it will avoid similar problems in the future. Credit: TSU Media Relations

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An annual audit released Monday found that Tennessee State University made some significant errors in recent financial statements. The state comptroller’s office also cited the school for not reporting enrollment changes quickly enough.

Universities are supposed to notify the National Student Clearinghouse within 30 days of any enrollment changes — for example, after a student graduates or withdraws from classes. It’s a federal guideline because it affects when students have to start paying back government loans.

But the audit found that TSU in some cases took 70 days to report changes. Most of those cases were students who graduated in December 2014, says Kelli Sharpe with the university’s communications office. The school was closed for several days in January and February due to weather, which messed up the timing on the reporting.

“We’ve implemented everything they’ve recommended, and we … will not have a finding for this in the upcoming report that will be published next year,” she says.

Those recommendations include submitting graduation data and enrollment changes more frequently.

The state also found that TSU misreported the value of a donated building and made several “significant reporting errors” in its financial statements. The university acknowledged the findings and said it is taking steps to avoid similar issues in the future.

This is part of a routine audit of every public university in the state. TSU’s audit this year had more negative findings than the others, but the comptroller’s office also found issues with the financial statements of MTSU, Tennessee Tech and the University of Tennessee.

This story was originally published on August 29, 2016.

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