Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Financial Audit Report Says Pima Community College is On the Right Path, Still Lacks in Some Areas

Posted By on Wed, Feb 4, 2015 at 10:30 AM

Pima Community College has been on probation since April 2013 over allegations of corrupt hiring practices, alleged sexual misconduct by the former chancellor, lack of collaboration between the board and the administration, wrongdoings in the financial management, among other concerns listed on a letter they got at the time from their accrediting agency, the Higher Learning Commission.

In the probation letter, the HLC says Pima's governing board appeared to "have no processes in place to oversee these financial practices. The Arizona Auditor General's recent financial audit of the institution also identified concerns with financial management. In addition to the contracted services under review by this team, the Auditor General found 'significant deficiencies' in the institution's internal financial controls."

Today, Arizona's Office of the Auditor General released its financial report for PCC for the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2014, saying that there were no deficiencies found during the audit of financial statements and that Pima had fixed one of the concerns noted in the same report from the previous fiscal year. 

From a Pima Community College press release:
The Auditor General also released the “Independent Auditors’ Report on Compliance for Each Major Federal Program” or “single audit” report for fiscal year 2014. The report identifies two material weaknesses. One weakness concerned the College’s standard purchase order terms and conditions regarding vendor debarment. A corrective action plan has been created by the Purchasing Department and the deficiency has been remedied by updating the language in one of the standard purchase order terms and conditions. The auditors performed reviews of all vendor transactions exceeding $25,000 and determined no payments were made to suspended or debarred vendors.

An additional deficiency in this report involved the reporting of enrollment for students who received financial aid and who completely withdrew from classes. These student enrollment statuses were not always correct or up-to-date. Both the Financial Aid and Admissions offices are responsible for enrollment reporting and have prepared a corrective action plan that includes improvements to procedural and policy changes that will correct these weaknesses in internal control. In addition, these offices will increase staffing involved with these processes.

This is a similar weakness to those in the U.S. Department of Education’s Federal Student Aid Program Review of June 2014. In its January 27, 2015 Final Program Review Determination response Martina Fernandez-Rosario, Division Director, San Francisco/Seattle School Participation Division, wrote: “PCC’s response has resolved all findings related to the issues cited in the program review report. In addition, PCC has provided assurances that the appropriate corrective actions have been taken to resolve and prevent future occurrences of all findings. Therefore, PCC may consider the program review closed with no further action required.”
The auditor general also released an annual budgeted expenditure limitation report for the FY ending June 30, 2014 and said Pima met its expenditure limitation requirements and "appropriately excluded expenditures of certain revenues set by law resulting in college expenditures under the...limitation by more than $7 million."

When Pima was placed on probation, it was given two years to fix the problems. PCC Chancellor Lee Lambert has said the college is heading the right direction and that they should be able to keep their accreditation. 

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