Six Howard University employees were fired last year after an internal investigation found the financial aid office had misappropriated university-based grants to some university employees, the school’s president said Wednesday.
According to a statement from Wayne Frederick, Howard University president, an outside auditor found that several university employees received grants in addition to discounts on tuition that exceeded the total cost of tuition and kept the difference.
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 said.
“It’s disappointing to actually come to terms with the reality of what’s going on,” senior Quencey Hickerson said.
Parent Cecily Johnson said she was disgusted.
“Someone could totally change their trajectory if they can’t pay tuition,” she said.
Frederick said he was told in December 2016 that there may have been “some misappropriation of university-provided financial aid funds,” and launched an internal investigation.
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.”
The grants came from institutional funds that help low-income students pay tuition. Frederick said the grants came from the university and were not federal or donor funds.
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’s statement came after an anonymous post on Medium.com claimed financial aid employees at the university stole nearly $1 million in funds.