Six former Howard University employees inappropriately awarded or received more than $369,000 in institutional aid from the institution between 2011-2016, according to a report released by the university this afternoon and a week after the school faced national scrutiny over allegations of massive financial aid fraud.
The report outlines the launch of the ongoing financial aid investigation in 2016, which revealed that of more than 131 employees or dependents who received tuition remission, grants, and refunds over the analyzed period, five employees accounted for $689,375 of total refunds.
The six employees were fired in 2017 as a result of the inquiry, and officials say new controls, including consolidated approval processes, restricted access to the financial aid awarding system, and the hiring of two new enrollment management and compliance executives, will create a new standard for student aid oversight.
“While this has been a very difficult and disappointing situation, I know our campus community deserves better and I am committed to ensuring that each of our campus offices operate with integrity and are the best that higher education has to offer,” said Howard President Wayne A.I. Frederick in a statement issued last week following the university’s confirmation of the financial aid investigation.
Officials say criminal charges could be possible in the financial aid controversy that rocked the national HBCU community in late March following an anonymous posting on Medium.com which alleged that former employees had misappropriated more than $1 million in institutional aid.
That posting, which has since been deleted and has prompted a $10 million lawsuit from Howard law school student Tyrone Hankerson, who was named in the post as one of the beneficiaries of the financial aid fraud, preceded a nine-day sit-in by Howard University students in the school’s administration building.
Protestors demanded changes to tuition rates, campus policing practices, community outreach, housing access and executive resignations, but ended their occupation last Friday after agreeing to terms with the HU Board of Trustees for increased student presence on task forces, board committees and new housing registration dates.