Archive for Friday, August 6, 2010

KU to conduct external audit on differential tuition

Kansas University will be conducting a review into how the school of business is spending its money. Complaints from students in the school state they agreed to pay more for a better education and the school has yet to deliver.

August 6, 2010


Kansas University will conduct an external review focusing on how its Business School has spent money from a special tuition program.

Each student in the school pays a differential tuition fee to the school per credit hour — about $84 for master’s students and $102 for undergraduates.

For months, a group of concerned MBA students has been asking for more detail on how the school was spending the money and pointing out instances where the money appeared to be spent differently from what was originally proposed in a 2004 document.

While the students have insisted the proposal represents a contract between students who would be paying the tuition and administrators who would be spending it, university officials say the document was a plan — not a firm contract — for how the funds should be used.

“It is always the case that the plan is only as good as the circumstances in which it was created,” said Barbara Romzek, KU’s interim vice provost for academic affairs.

Romzek said she didn’t yet know how long the review would take or how much it would cost.

“It won’t be cheap,” she said.

David Cantrell, one of the MBA students who had voiced the concerns, said that given how much students had spent on the fees — about $31 million over the past six years, according to their information — he was glad to hear of KU’s decision.

“We think that it’s about time that we had an independent audit,” he said.

Romzek said she was beginning to bring together a group of financial auditors who could conduct a “broad-based review” of how the school spent its differential tuition funds in response to the students’ concerns.

The review will seek to determine whether the money was spent in accordance with the original plan, Romzek said. An internal group, which is set to include representation from faculty and students, would help guide the external reviewers, she said.

“We have given answers to the questions the students have asked, but they haven’t thought they were satisfactory answers,” Romzek said.

The external review was initially requested by William Fuerst, KU business dean, as an extra layer of transparency. Fuerst was unavailable for comment on Thursday.

“The dean requested this a couple weeks ago, and we’re glad it’s moving forward,” said Keith Chauvin, associate business dean.


imastinker 7 years, 10 months ago

Good for these students for doing this!

mom_of_three 7 years, 10 months ago

the students got answers they didn't think were correct, so now there is an audit. Yeah, good for these students (read heavy sarcasm).

Thunderdome 7 years, 10 months ago

No, read uninformed b-school employee who has done no research, doesn't have to pay DT, and therefore has no dog in the fight. Dogs not in the fight should stay on the porch.

wastewatcher 7 years, 10 months ago

Three cheers for the students, it appears they are asking the tough questions that the administration or the Regents will not ask. As everyone is so willing to raise tuition and fees, it is about time clarity and transparency come to the spending side of the equation.

guesswho 7 years, 10 months ago and master's students are (supposedly) being taught to examine critically the world around them and question the status quo. This audit sounds long overdue.

mom_of_three 7 years, 10 months ago

I wonder what the students are going to do when the audit doesn't show any wrongdoing, that what the students were told was happening is found to be the same by the audit team. Will they believe it then? Do you really think this audit will turn up anything shocking?

techmom 7 years, 10 months ago

If you have been following this story, the students are not out to prove there has been wrong doing. They simply want an accounting of how the money has been spent and the student oversite committee put back into place as both were part of the initial differential tuition agreement. If there is no wrongdoing, then why would the university not provide the information requested? Instead they told the students it would cost them $61,000. That is ridiculous. If there is no wrongdoing then the students are only holding the university to the agreement. If there is wrongdoing then it needs to be corrected.

mom_of_three 7 years, 10 months ago

I have been following the story, and I think the students are out to prove that something hinky is going on. The school has already agreed to put the student committee back into play, and they have received an accounting of the money. the students just dont believe it, trust it, whatever.

mbaclassof10 7 years, 10 months ago

I just graduated but consider me one of the concerned students. I'd bet you've never even read the tuition agreement. I bet you've also never looked into any of the expenditures or looked at the documents provided by administration. Students have always made it clear they don't allege fraud or hope there is fraud going on. STUDENTS HAVE NOT RECEIVED an accounting of the money for the last six years. Period. The financial accounts provided for the current year are completely inadequate and don't even add up correctly. Even the basic financials provided prove expenditures don't follow the agreement.

After five months of questions and inadequate answers, students asked for an audit. But they didn't set out with that in mind - it was a result of the university's actions. Would you accept ridiculous answers like "Enrollment increased, scholarships were granted, or students got study abroad trips?" You forget that it's students' money that was collected but with specific constraints on expenditures and bi-annual financial statements required. None of this has happened. You have no idea the amount of information students have to support their concerns. If you saw it, you wouldn't doubt the audit. Apparently ku felt the same way. And by the way, you can't just walk into KU and demand an audit. Concern must come from within the administration too.

Lastly, it is completely inappropriate that someone within the bschool staff is commenting on LJW like this. Your attitude and ignorance of the issue is atrocious. You should advocate that students' concerns be addressed - even if you don't necessarily agree with them. There's nothing wrong with asking questions for answers that should've already been provided.

techmom 7 years, 10 months ago

if there is nothing "hinky" going on, then KU should have provided data to substantiate that months ago when first requested instead of telling them it would cost $61,000. what accounting have they been provided and how would you know what they have been provided?

valgrlku 7 years, 10 months ago

A review/audit should be done in each school at KU that charges differential tuition, or if it has already been reviewed in other schools, public reports should be made available each semester.

I paid it for years (at the rate of $30 per credit hour, I believe - so about $90 extra per course) in the School of Education and still have no idea where the extra tuition was spent. I was a graduate student who used the building to simply attend class, but even when I didn't attend class in the building, as in the case of dissertation hours, I still paid it.

I seem to remember the justification for said tuition as slated for "upgrades" and services that mostly benefited the undergrads. Again, I still have no clue, and the differential tuition been tacked on for several years now...

Thunderdome 7 years, 10 months ago

This story has an error in it. Grad students actually pay about $178 of DT per credit hour while undergraduates pay $102 per credit hour.

AnnB 7 years, 10 months ago

Correct. The information put out by the BSchool is misleading. Grad Students (at least MACC students) pay both the undergraduate and the graduate DT. That's how it is broken down on the tuition bills.

Thunderdome 7 years, 10 months ago

Correction: Graduate students pay the $102 paid by the undergraduates plus the additional $84 for a grand total of $186. That's a lot of money per credit hour for no accountability.

cmbj 7 years, 10 months ago

mom of three doesn't have a clue what's been going on. The students have been asking for clarity for several months and the school refused to give a clear accounting of the millions of dollars involved. It does make one wonder why they aren't forthcoming with true answers. The students agreed to DT with stipulations the college agreed to but has renegged on and now appears they never intended to comply with the students requirements. They agreed to a thorough financial accounting of DT funds every six months and they have yet to produce one single report in six years. It's about time somebody held them to the fire and made them answer the difficult questions.

Evan Ridenour 7 years, 10 months ago

I guarantee this audit will show severe violations of the differential tuition agreement.

I've seen first hand financial expenditures within the administration of the business school and it doesn't add up. The complete lack of effort (and in some cases intentional action) to comply with the differential tuition agreement for 6 years in conjunction with the fairly blatant inconsistencies infers what we have all known for awhile now.

mom_of_three either doesn't know anything at all about this issue or is blatantly lying. For the people who actually paid out thousands of dollars to this "fee" it is a pretty serious issue.

mysterion 7 years, 10 months ago

First: mom of three obviously works at the business school and is likely a recipient of differential tuition funds, so her opinion is clearly impartial. (read heavy sarcasm)

Second, the concerned students have been demanding a full external audit of this program since they originally raised concerns about its administration. Dean Fuerst has merely conceded this because he knows that this issue will not go away. I love how he spins this that the external audit was HIS idea. Once again, just another example of him trying to make it appear as though he is really earning his salary. If anyone doubts this, one only needs to take a look at the record that has been established during this whole fiasco. Dean Fuerst is scrambling to keep his job because his review is being held up as a result of this matter. He wants everyone to think that he has been cooperative and that he has been providing documents when, in fact, he had provided only cursory information that doesn't match up with budget documents provided by the University. He has not been helpful, nor has he really shown much concern for the issues raised by the students...that is until his job was on the line.

Regardless of what the review shows, this whole process could have been avoided in the first place had Dean Fuerst and Associate Dean Chauvin merely provided the kind of detailed data requested. Doesn't anyone find it a bit revealing that the business school cannot immediately provide detailed financial information about its differential tuition expenditures, yet every other school at the University can? What an embarrassment to the Business School and the University at large.

cmbj 7 years, 10 months ago

It looks like the Dean & Associate Dean should take some business ethics classes.

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