A recently-released state audit found that Morgan State University awarded a handful of students incorrect sums of scholarship money during the 2009-2010 academic year.

Four students were awarded less than promised in award letters and two received too much, according to a review of eight athletic and honors scholarships conducted by the state’s Office of Legislative Audits.

In a response to the audit, the university noted that several of the findings had already been addressed or improved systems would be in place by at least Sept. 1.

The report shows the school lacked oversight of its awarding procedures during an audit that spanned February 2007 to March 2010. The university was marked for 10 areas of concern, down from 17 areas pointed out during their last audit three years ago.

In addition to the incorrect funding awards, the school failed to terminate scholarships when students no longer met eligibility requirements, according to the report. Out of 17 honor scholarship recipients that enrolled in fall 2009, three continued to receive funds despite dropping below the required course load of 12 credits per semester. The school also allowed two students to enroll in classes despite having outstanding balances.

In its response to the audit, the university vowed to review posted scholarships for discrepancies every month and make adjustments to the mentioned cases from the 2009-2010 year by Sept. 1.

Auditors recommended the university appoint more than one employee to process and record research grant funding to avoid opportunities for misappropriation; there was a $1.5 million hole between grant money processed and accounts receivable in May 2010.

The university said it improved its grant billing system during the audit, investigated and reconciled any discrepancies and split the duties for processing grants between multiple employees.

The audit cited other infractions—student residencies were not always verified, payroll employees did not always review supervisor authorizations before paying overtime and computer passwords were not always adequate.

In a July 15 letter addressing the audit, Morgan State President David Wilson said he will conduct periodic assessments to ensure all findings are addressed by the next inspection.

“Additionally, we have already started to increase our efforts to reduce the findings for the next audit, both in number and potential severity,” he wrote.


Shernay Williams

Special to the AFRO