The Federal Government says the Florida State College at Jacksonville changed students’ courses of study without their permission, and in some cases it allowed them to receive financial aid when they should not have.
A new financial audit from the U.S. Department of Education could mean that the college will have to repay even more money to the federal government.
Federal rules say that colleges cannot award financial aid to a student for classes which do not count toward his or her degree or certificate. The audit found that FSCJ automatically transferred students’ main courses of study to other “associate” type courses of study. This allowed students to qualify for financial aid under certain classes when they should not have.
The DOE ordered the college to conduct “a 100% file review of all” students who had a primary program of study shifted by the system to a course “that did not reflect the student’s program of intent.” The audit then says the school must report all of the financial aid awarded because of this process, which may have to be paid back to the government.
The audit explains how this happened for eight of the 30 students it sampled, but calls it a “partial” list which is not final at this time.
The lengthy audit goes on to list nine other findings related to FSCJ’s administration of its federal funds. One of them details how some students did not making satisfactory academic progress but were allowed to keep their financial aid.
The report says FSCJ has 60 calendar days to respond to the ten findings.
“Florida State College at Jacksonville and its consultants will study this report carefully,” FSCJ President Steven Wallace said in an emailed statement. “We believe that many of these findings can be resolved and acted upon prior to a final report being issued.”
In cases where the school disagrees to the DOE’s findings, Wallace reminded that the school can appeal.
WOKV has reached out to President Wallace for further comment.