Howard University Employees Accused of Stealing $1M in Financial Aid Funds

Chris Jasurek
By Chris Jasurek
March 31, 2018USshare

NTD Photo

Howard University students were disappointed to learn that some financial aid staffers had stolen nearly $1 million in grant money over a span of ten years.

An independent audit completed in May 2017 revealed the misappropriations, University President Wayne Frederick revealed in a statement published on March 28.

“Obviously, it’s very disappointing. There’s people who need aid, I need aid, you know what I’m saying?” HU Junior, Zaire Johnson told WDCW.

HU Junior, Zaire Johnson called the scandal, “very disappointing.” (WDCW screenshot)
HU Junior, Zaire Johnson called the scandal, “very disappointing.” (WDCW screenshot)

“There’s people who could be taking advantage of these resources if they were being allocated effectively, who may or may not be able to continue their education here or elsewhere because of the mishandling.”

The stolen funds were University funds, not federal or donor-supplied money. The money was meant to help promising but financially lacking students attend the school.

Instead, the money was directed towards some staff members.

Financial Crimes: A police car passes the campus of Howard University in Washington, D.C. Nov. 12, 2015. (Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images)
Financial Crimes: A police car passes the campus of Howard University in Washington on Nov. 12, 2015. (Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images)

Howard University limits financial aid to less than $50,000 per student, but the Financial Aid office was issuing checks for nearly $100,000.

Some financial aid staffers were granted free tuition reductions plus grants, in all totaling more than the cost of tuition.

One financial aid employee, Tyrone Hankerson, allegedly received nearly $430,000 in grants and scholarships over four years. Financial aid Associate Director Brian Johnson allegedly got nearly $200,000.

University President Wayne Fredrick revealed the financial impropriety on March 28. (WDCW screenshot)
University President Wayne Frederick revealed the financial impropriety on March 28. (WDCW screenshot)

President Frederick learned that there might be irregularities in the Financial Aid department via a tip in December 2016.

“I immediately informed the Board of Trustees, and together we moved swiftly to begin an internal investigation,” he said in his statement.

The investigation ended in September 2017, with the firing of six employees “for gross misconduct and neglect of duties. We will refer this matter for criminal prosecution, as appropriate,” Frederick stated.

The Howard University campus (coolwallpaper786.blogspot.com)
The Howard University campus (coolwallpaper786.blogspot.com)

In his statement, Frederick outlined a list of policies and procedures put in place to prevent any further misappropriations.

Senior Ihmani Johnson told WDCW, “HBCUs as a whole have had some issues. I just feel like hiring better administration would be, like, a good start to getting everything together.”

 

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