Mayville State University officials say they are working to ensure its administration is following the recommendations in a recent state auditor’s report outlining a need for increased oversight and better practices at the school.
The auditor’s report, which was released last week, states the university was not consistently following procurement rules, not retaining proper documentation or approval of student scholarships and room waivers, and inconsistent with accounting practices, possible due to high turnover in the business office.
"Mayville State University has an opportunity to improve their accounting practices,” Auditor Josh Gallion said in a statement. “I encourage the university to address the issues we identified and make the necessary corrections to ensure compliance with the Governmental Accounting Standards Board standards.”
The audit is a result of the State Auditor’s Office statutory responsibility to audit or review each state agency once every two years.
The audit points to some issues in the process the university used for writing off student accounts and that Mayville State “did not retain proper supporting documentation” for scholarships and lacked approvals for scholarships as well as tuition and room waivers in students’ files. The report said this could have led to the possible awarding of scholarships and waivers to ineligible students.
Universities have an opportunity to waive tuition fees, provide scholarships or room waivers if students meet certain criteria. In order to provide these opportunities to students, the paperwork supporting why tuition and room fees were waived needs to be kept in the students’ files, the report said. The auditor’s team discovered that proper documentation or approval was not obtained for six out of the 22 files it reviewed, according to the report.
Additionally, the audit said the university did not follow proper procurement procedures in multiple instances.
Steve Bensen, interim vice president for business affairs at Mayville State said the university is working on the recommendations and it doesn’t dispute them.
Bensen said there has been some turnover in the office, which means there can be a break in chain of training.
As a smaller school, Mayville State doesn’t have all of the same resources as a larger institution, but Bensen said there is “good support” through the North Dakota University System and other institutions.
“There is a good structure in place to assist campuses when there is turnover to assure that everybody can hit the ground running, but it is difficult and it does cause some issues and some concern," he said.