A recent audit shows scholarship money went to gift cards for employees at a local community college, instead of books for students.
The audit discovered the findings at Naugatuck Valley Community College.
The audit looked at a number of community colleges in Connecticut’s state system.
As for the issue regarding the scholarship money at Naugatuck Valley Community College, Channel 3 was told it was a whistle blower that brought it to the state's attention.
"It wasn't a huge dollar figure, $3,400, but those $3,400 add up,” said Rob Kane, one of the state’s two auditors.
He said an audit of the 2014 and 2015 fiscal years revealed Naugatuck Valley Community College took scholarship money designed for students and instead used it on staff.
"Follett Higher Education technical group operates about 12 bookstores throughout the community colleges in Connecticut. One and a quarter percent of their gross revenue is to go towards scholarships to buy textbooks for kids who can't afford textbooks. We found nine instances where the college used that money to buy books for the president's staff and members of the cabinet as well as gift cards,” Kane said.
In a statement by the school, the college's provost of dean and administration said "it was true some books were purchased for book discussions held by the president's cabinet...it wasn't an egregious violation on our part. We said we realized we shouldn't do it and we stopped."
"They said they would never let that happen again. This goes back from '14 and '15 so subsequently when we do the 2016 and 2017 year audits, we will see if the recommendations have been followed up on, but our understanding is they've ceased the process,” Kane said.
On Wednesday, the college said it agreed with the audits finding and has since changed its practices to make sure it’s complying.
"We don't find necessarily mismanagement or abuse or waste, we just find a lack of controls sometimes and people need to treat state dollars, just as if they would their own home, the money in their own pocket or their own business,” Kane said.
To see the complete audit, click here.
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