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Higher Education Board Approves Fee Performance Audit Action Plan

Posted on 9/5/2012

For More Information Contact:
Linda Donlin, Director of Communications and
Media Relations
North Dakota University System
Phone: 701.328.2962
E-mail: linda.donlin@ndus.edu

BISMARCK, N.D. - The State Board of Higher Education approved a Fees Performance Audit Action Plan proposed by North Dakota University System Chancellor Ham Shirvani at SBHE's meeting today in Fargo. The action plan addresses the June State Auditor's performance audit of fees charged by the University of North Dakota and North Dakota State University. Completion of the plan is expected by Dec. 31, 2013.

"The Fees Performance Audit Action Plan approved today was well received and is consistent with the Board's expectation for increased accountability and transparency," says Duaine Espegard, president of SBHE.

The action plan expedites a thorough analysis of all non-mandatory fees and dovetails with NDUS' comprehensive draft Three-Tier Access Plan, which also was presented for Board review and discussion at the meeting. The proposed Access Plan includes the development of a new tuition-rate structure and will determine the appropriate fees to merge with tuition.

"We will make sure that all fees are spent appropriately and that balances are applied to benefit students, including underwriting fees," says Shirvani.
The plan puts accounting controls in place to ensure revenues and expenditures can be separately tracked for all remaining stand-alone fees. It also will review all current accumulated fee balances as of June 5, 2012 (audit report date) to ensure proper use of fee balances in support of unique purposes of initial fee assessment. Beginning in Fiscal Year 2013, all accumulating fee balances in excess of a defined appropriate reserve threshold (to be determined) would be used to offset future rates.


NDUS Response to Fees Performance AuditApproved by the SBHE 9/5/12

In response to the June 2012 State Auditor's Performance Audit at UND and NDSU and consistent with the central themes of accountability and transparency, the NDUS shall complete the following action plan by not later than December 31, 2013:

1.) As part of the 3-Tier Access plan, including a plan to implement a new tuition rate structure by Fall 2014, a thorough analysis of all non-mandatory fees must be expedited to determine which fees are most appropriately merged with tuition. All plans for the merger of non-mandatory fees with tuition will be evaluated by the System Office prior to implementation. Once approved campuses will have discretion over the use of the merged tuition revenues to support programmatic goals, without the need to separately distinguish between what used to be former tuition and former fees.

• By 12/31/12: Complete review and analysis of fees for merger;
• By 8/31/13: Complete development of new tuition rate structure and rates as outlined in 3 Tier Access plan (i.e. per credit hour, merged fees, rates by residency category)
• By Fall 2013: Publically announce new rate structure and rates to parents and students for implementation in Fall 2014.

2.) Chancellor's Office review of all remaining non-mandatory fees will be completed based on reasonable cost data-completed 6/30/13.

3.) Put in place proper accounting controls to ensure that revenues and expenditures can be separately tracked for all remaining stand-alone fees, where practical and appropriate-begin implementation immediately, completing full implementation after new combined tuition and fee model changes are in place.

4.) Review all current accumulated fee balances as of June 5, 2012 (audit report date) to ensure proper use of fee balances in support of unique purposes of initial fee assessment--- completed 12/31/12

5.) Beginning in FY13, all accumulating fee balances in excess of a defined appropriate reserve threshold (to be determined) would be used to offset future rates. Minimal exceptions to the reserve threshold may be permitted to address unique needs such as funded equipment depreciation.

6.) Revise policies for all remaining fees, following tuition and fee model conversion (completed by 12/31/13) to specifically address the following:

• Expenditures limited to specific fee purpose(s);
• Chancellor approval of all new and fee changes;
• Student input;
•With minimal exceptions (e.g. fund equipment depreciation, etc.) all accumulating balances, in excess of policy provisions, be used to offset rates;
• Proper disclosure and monitoring; and,
• System-wide consistency, accountability and transparency.



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