ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. (WAVY) — A newly released internal audit shows that Elizabeth City State University improperly admitted students who did not qualify and improperly awarded financial aid.
In October 2015 after allegations that an administrator had told staff to make financial awards to ineligible students, then UNC-President Tom Ross ordered the audit.
It was also alleged the administrator had told staff to do whatever was necessary to increase the number of students in school.
Enrollment at the school has dropped dramatically. Last year there were 1,585 students enrolled, only 232 of them were freshman.
The 30-page report outlines 21 different problems in the financial aid and admissions offices at the university.
10 On Your Side’s Brandi Cummings sat down with Chancellor Dr. Thomas Conway. He was appointed in January. Of the findings, Conway told Cummings, “I’m glad I know.”
Dr. Conway said he thinks the request for an audit was reasonable given the enrollment numbers.
“When you look at the trajectory that the enrollment was taking you had to know there were some things that needed to be fixed in the system,” Dr. Conway said.
Conway continued, “These are not mistakes that are going to be repeated.”
Cummings asked Conway what will happen to the students affected. He said the students will remain enrolled and can receive financial aid as long as they meet the requirements.
“We are doing everything we can to make sure these students have every chance of being successful and we believe they will,” Dr. Conway said.
Students’ reaction to the audit findings was mixed.
Junior ECSU student Jonathan Stroud said, “At the end of the day it’s good for the students to be in here, but I feel like it should be done the right way.”
Junior ECSU student Charles Cassaday said, “It is upsetting because I went through all the proper channels that it took to go to school here and some people don’t and they’re being admitted anyway. It’s unfair.”
Senior ECSU student Shajuan Ervin said, “Hearing some problems here it’s not the first time, so it’s not shocking however I am upset.”
Janae James, a freshman ECSU student said, “It makes me nervous as a student here but I have faith in my university and I feel like we’ll pull through eventually.”
Dr. Conway said the things they have to fix will be done by the end of the spring semester.
“We had to reestablish confidence that the institution is going to take care of its business in a good manner and we’re doing that,” Dr. Conway said. “We are looking at mapping a trajectory that will allow us to be the kind of institution that serves this region well.”