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3.10 Financial Resources

Comprehensive Standard:

3.10.2 The institution audits financial aid programs as required by federal and state regulations. (Financial aid audits)

Statement of Compliance:   In Compliance.

Narrative:

The University of West Georgia (UWG), Board of Regents, and State of Georgia regularly audit its financial aid programs as required by federal and state regulations. Data from the 2012 Financial Aid section of the Common Data Set [1] shows about 73% of UWG’ students receive some form of financial aid.  A detailed discussion of compliance with federal requirements (including audit requirements) for Title IV funding is available in the response to Principle 4.7.

The Georgia Department of Audits and Accounts, in accordance with the U.S. Office of Management and Budget Circular A-133, conducts an annual audit of the federal awards programs of the state of Georgia, which includes financial aid programs administered by the state universities.  Observations related to University of West Georgia appear in the most recent audit by the Department of Audits and Accounts for fiscal years ending June 30, 2009 [2], June 30, 2010 [3], June 30, 2011 [4] and June 30, 2012 [5].  These audits report no findings related to the University of West Georgia, nor findings related to University of West Georgia Financial Aid Programs.

An additional external audit of financial aid at UWG is conducted by the Georgia Student Finance Commission to verify correct administration of the Georgia HOPE Scholarship Program (see the link below and university response).  These audits occur on a schedule determined by the Georgia Student Finance Commission (GSFC).  The most recent GSFC audit [6], dated April 3-4, 2013, is still in progress with GSFC with closure anticipated by September 1, 2013.  The most recently completed GSFC audit [7] and [8], dated August 2, 2010, found no significant deficiencies.  In this multi-year audit, with a focus upon Fall 2009 and Spring 2010, a total of 11 discrepancies were noted.  Eight of the discrepancies were failures to record data in a correct method.  Three of the discrepancies were due to either human error or inadequate training.  None of the discrepancies resulted in a funds loss to the institution or to students.  Many thousands of UWG students are awarded, and many subsequently lose, the Hope Scholarship.  The eleven discrepancies was a very low error rate.  None of the discrepancies indicated a systemic lack of internal controls.  Procedures and training were adjusted so that the discrepancies would not recur. 

The Department of Internal Audit conducts risk-based internal audits of all aspects of the university’s operation, including the financial aid program. The most recent UWG Internal Audit [9] began on May 16, 2013 and is still in progress.  Upon completion of an audit of financial aid or other university program, department management and the internal auditor agree upon the wording and severity associated with Internal Audit’s observations.  Management must develop an action plan to mitigate the identified risk, and if the observation is material, must implement the improvements within 60 days.  The complete report, including management’s agreed actions, is discussed and forwarded to the university president and senior management team as well as the USG Board of Regents Chief Audit Officer.

Supporting Documentation: