HBCUs Are Failing in Financial Aid Accountability

Jabari Payne, Black College Wire, October 9, 2010

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{snip} However, HBCUs [historically black colleges and universities] have had financial problems due to in-house theft and other corruption scandals for years. These low accountability standards tarnish the integrity of these historic institutions.

Corrupt practices have led to grave repercussions for involved institutions from the government and accrediting bodies. However, these schools should still be held accountable.

Recently, there have been several cases of financial aid theft at Florida A&M University. {snip}

Although the suspects have been arrested, fingers should not only be pointed at the thieves, but at university administrators. If the systems were safer, there wouldn’t be problems like students hacking into iRattler, the university online data system where students’ information is stored.

“This is not what I expected college to be like, late money being stolen,” said Jamire Riles, a 19-year-old general education student from Miami, referring to financial aid checks that students often receive late. {snip}

Morris Brown College went through similar financial problems during the 1990s and the early 2000s. In the May 2006 issue of Jet Magazine, former president Dr. Dolores Cross “pleaded guilty to embezzling millions of dollars in federal funds that were intended to cover student tuition.”

With the aid of the former financial aid director, Parvesh Singh, Cross robbed Morris Brown of just over $3 million. Cross’ tenure lasted nearly three years, but her monetary hoarding forced the school into a loss of accreditation and turned the campus into a ghost town.

Alabama A&M University in Normal, Ala., {snip} has been missing over $1 million since 2008, according to an editorial written by John Beck of the Huntsville Times.

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An absence of liability for Morris Brown’s and Alabama A&M’s money is just another example of why students question the leaders and integrity of our HBCUs. There has to be more than one or two ways to keep track of all the money that is being stolen from the schools. If there isn’t, then our schools are to blame just as much as the thieves themselves.

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