The Louisiana Capitol Building, April 8, 2021. (Wes Muller/Louisiana Illuminator).
Hundreds of students at Northwest Louisiana Technical Community College were overcharged by more than $23,000 for tuition, according to a Louisiana legislative audit released Monday.
The audit found that 188 students were undercharged by $3,760 for tuition and student fees, while 754 students were overcharged by $23,525 over the fall, spring and summer semesters in 2020. Net tuition and fees revenue were overstated by $280,447 in total. According to the report, the college failed to “ensure that the annual fiscal report was accurately prepared.”
Another issue was reporting outstanding checks–under state law, outstanding checks that are more than a year old have to be turned in to the state treasurer as unclaimed property. Northwest failed to turn 135 outstanding checks dated from 2008-2019, totaling $35,862.
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In a June letter to the auditor’s office, college Chancellor Earl Meador said the college would fix the issue of outstanding checks and send them to the appropriate office.
“Going forward, the college will annually submit unclaimed property for the previous fiscal year for applicable items dated July 1 through June 30,” Meador said.
Capital assets and disclosures were also understated by $706,011, and receivables and the related note disclosure were overstated by around $302,025.
In an Aug. 26 letter to the Louisiana Legislative Auditor’s office, Meador said he disagreed with parts of the assessment, saying that he did not believe students were overcharged or undercharged in regard to student fees. Meador said program fees were needed for student education and to provide instructors with a budget, with all fees going to these intended purposes.
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“NLTCC does not concur that students were overcharged as a result of this variance in that 100% of program and course fees are used for the classroom and student needs as outlined above,” Meador wrote.
The college is part of the Louisiana Community and Technical College System. During the 2019 legislative session, the college changed from Northwest Louisiana Technical College to the Northwest Louisiana Technical Community College. As part of the accreditation process, an audit of the college’s 2020 financial statements was required.
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