Nearly $30 million in federal financial aid awarded to Cheyney University -- a public, historically black institution in Pennsylvania -- is in question after an internal review found at least one error in 85 percent of its records for federal grants between fiscal 2012 and fiscal 2014. The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education last year hired the independent firm Financial Aid Services (FAS) to reconcile Cheyney’s federal financial aid programs after it determined Cheyney hadn't performed the required reconciliation internally for those three years.
The U.S. Department of Education is reviewing the FAS report and will decide whether Cheyney will have to repay some or all of the funds it didn't administer properly. In the meantime, FAS is administering Cheyney's federal financial aid programs.
The report is damaging for Cheyney, an institution that's struggling with steep enrollment declines and a budget deficit that grows larger each year. "This report brings to light the deficiencies of many enrollment management functions, the university’s policies and procedures, communications, academic progress, student accounts, student records, financial records, and student information management systems resulting in overall findings of noncompliance with federal regulations for the administration and delivery of federal student aid totaling $29.6 million over three years," an executive summary of the report said.
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