Fired Howard University Staffers Inappropriately Cashed Out $303K, Report Says

Frederick said the grants came from the university and were not federal or donor funds

The six Howard University employees who were fired last year inappropriately awarded $369,000 of the school's financial aid money, a university report says.

The school revealed a preliminary report Monday that details how much money student-employees mishandled.

The auditor found that between 2007 and 2016, university grants were awarded to some university employees who also were receiving tuition remission. The grants and tuition remission equaled more than the total cost of attendance, which allowed the employees to receive "inappropriate refunds."

Those funds could either be applied toward loan forgiveness or be cashed out as a refund, the report says. Howard says that between 2011 and 2016, $18,000 was applied to loans and $303,000 was refunded into students' pockets.

The university didn't say who received the money.

The problems were uncovered during a routine independent audit of Howard's finances, Howard president Wayne Frederick said. The report says an auditor from RSM noticed in November 2016 that a student-employee received a refund and officials investigated further.

The money came from Howard's bank accounts. A seperate investigation is looking to determine whether any federal funds were affected.

Some students said they felt betrayed. Employees took financial aid funds as students prepare to spend years paying off their loans.

"I'm actually on the verge of transferring schools because I can't afford to stay here because a grant was taken away from me," one student told News4.

"It's disappointing to actually come to terms with the reality of what's going on," senior Quencey Hickerson said. 

Tuition remission allows eligible employees or their dependents to receive discounted tuition at the university. Full-time employees eligible to receive tuition remission can take two classes per semester for free, according to the university's website. Tuition at Howard for the 2017-2018 school year was $12,061 per semester, not including room and board.

Frederick announced last month that the six employees were fired after an anonymous post on claimed financial aid employees at the university stole nearly $1 million in funds. 

After the revelation, students launched a protest and occupied the administration building for more than a week.

Criminal charges have not yet been filed. The investigation is ongoing.

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