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Some 2013 SHSU audits deferred or incomplete

Associate Editor

Published: Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Updated: Tuesday, February 4, 2014 00:02

Some of Sam Houston State University’s internal audit plans for Fiscal Year 2013 fell through without explanation and are not scheduled to be made up, according to audit report documents.

Only six of 13 risked-based and required audits were performed by SHSU auditors. Two of the 13 were deferred to the 2014 fiscal year, two were taken place by research performed by the State Auditing Office (SAO) and three weren’t performed at all and don’t appear on the agenda for 2014, according to SHSU’s 2013 annual audit report.

Director of SHSU’s Office of Audits and Analysis Kelly Bielamowicz refused to comment directly on the report after the Houstonian contacted her multiple times, including an office visit Monday.

Bielamowicz said any questions needed to go through Julia May, the associate director of communications at SHSU. However, May did not comment by press time. Written questions were sent to May late Friday afternoon.

An evaluation of the security of on-campus housing was one of the two audits that weren’t performed and were not planned for 2014, according to the audit report. The audit plan said it was to “evaluate the effectiveness of residential building security and access policies, procedures and security controls to prevent unauthorized access.”

The other audit that wasn’t performed was an assessment of the university’s compliance with policies and guidelines for faculty researchers after they receive their award moneys.

The explanation for the deferral of some of the audits to 2014 was that the office didn’t have the resources to handle all of them this year.

“The number of unplanned activities and projects, and the amount of resources necessary to address these, was more than anticipated,” the audit report stated. The statement didn’t provide a reason for the plans that weren’t performed at all but only excused those deferred to the 2014 fiscal year citing the heavy workload.

The Texas State Auditor’s Office is currently in its draft stage of auditing the Financial Aid Office for the 2013 fiscal year. This audit is taking the place of the one that was planned in SHSU’s audit plan in order to “avoid duplicative effort.”

In SAO’s 2009 fiscal year audit of the Financial Aid Office, the agency found that SHSU was only reporting estimated Pell Grant disbursement amounts and dates. Universities must submit actual Pell Grant disbursement data to the Department of Education’s Common Origination and Disbursement (COD) System every year to ensure compliance with the department’s standards, according to the Office of Management and Budget Compliance Supplement A-133.

SAO tracked 18 students’ actual disbursements and how they were reported to COD and found the university reported all 18 students’ disbursement amounts and dates incorrectly. Four years after SAO originally reported the problem, SHSU fixed the data submission to reflect actual disbursement amounts and dates, according to the SAO.

In a document published on SAO’s website, the university cited the process of consolidation as the origin of the problem.

“Sam Houston State University acknowledges the limitations of [the 2009 financial aid software] with regard to reporting the actual disbursement dates of Pell Grants,” the document stated. “The solution is the implementation of SunGard’s Banner Unified Digital Campus software which will provide integration between the campus business areas, including all departments involved in student account activity such as the offices of Undergraduate Admission, Graduate Admission, Registrar, Bursar and Financial Aid.”

Included on 2014’s fiscal year audit plan are environmental compliance and Americans with Disabilities Act compliance evaluations.

Associate Vice President for Facilities Management Doug Greening refused to comment directly on the ADA audit in an over-the-phone interview Monday.

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