Education

Jun 10, 2013 6:44 PM by AP(PHOTO COURTESY: MGN ONLINE)

Audit: Unreliable data used for tuition hikes

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Nearly 79 percent of community and technical colleges using a program that lets them raise student tuition didn't provide reliable data to gain that permission, according to a new audit released Monday.

The review by Legislative Auditor Daryl Purpera's office echoed findings from a year earlier, which found flaws in data submitted by the Louisiana Community and Technical College System.

The data is used to determine if the schools are meeting performance improvements needed to increase tuition, benchmarks required under a 2010 law authorizing tuition increases of up to 10 percent a year. It's called the GRAD Act.

Purpera's office said 11 of 14 community and technical colleges used unreliable fall 2012 student data to get permission to raise tuition from the Board of Regents, which oversees higher education in the state. Regents reviews the data annually to help determine if the campuses have met their benchmarks and can again raise tuition for the next year.

In a written response to the audit, Louisiana Community and Technical College System President Joe May said the schools had problems shifting to a new software system and were correcting the errors.

"We are aware of these issues and have made great strides to install edit routines that better ensure data integrity," he wrote. "We do not anticipate repeat issues for the fall 2013 semester."

All four-year universities were deemed to have provided accurate information, but the audit also said unreliable data was submitted by the LSU Health Sciences Center in New Orleans and Southern University at Shreveport.

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