Howard University employees fired for allegedly misusing financial aid

The university says it is working to "ensure every dollar" is "accounted for."

March 28, 2018, 8:35 PM

Six Howard University employees were fired last year for allegedly misusing institutional funds, the school's president confirmed Wednesday.

University President Wayne Frederick said an investigation revealed that between 2007 and 2016 several employees who had received both tuition remissions - or reductions - as well as university-funded grants - took advantage of their combined aid packages that went beyond the cost of attendance, resulting in "inappropriate" refunds. The employees allegedly pocketed the excess money.

Frederick, who said he launched an investigation immediately after being alerted about a potential problem in 2016, said the grants were institutional, not federally-funded.

Many students, including those involved with HU Resist and HUSA, both student government organizations that challenge university policies, took to social media to express concerns.

Olivia McDowell, a junior biology major and English minor, who said she's had frustrating encounters with the university's financial aid office in the past, said she found the situation disconcerting.

A representative from the university told ABC News that it is working with outside experts to "ensure every dollar" is "accounted for" and that the university will exercise all of its options to "recoup" funds.

According to Frederick, steps his administration has taken to improve the matter include ensuring that all money received is being vetted by the university budget office, as well as hiring a new associate provost for enrollment management.

The federal Department of Education declined to comment.

ABC News' Erin Dooley contributed to this report.