HOUSTON (AP) — An ousted head of Texas Southern University knew about the university giving low-performing students more than $400,000 in scholarships in a ploy to increase enrollment, according to an internal audit report.
Charla Parker-Thompson, TSU’s chief internal auditor, released information about corruption in the school’s admission process after former TSU President Austin Lane reached a buyout agreement with the university’s board of regents. The 17-page report was dated for Wednesday.
Lane had been removed from his position for failing to report alleged fraud and directing a former official to violate university policy. He was credited in the report for not notifying the auditor and board about problems in the admissions office. But Lane debunked the claims and cited his buyout settlement in which TSU agreed to pay him $879,000.
“If I violated anything in (my) contract, they would’ve never paid me out,” Lane told the newspaper in a text message.
The probe found that four students paid the assistant dean of admissions more than $100,000 to be enrolled in TSU’s law school and receive scholarships. The dean’s identity was not released, but the Houston Chronicle said interviews and records show that Edward Rene was fired last year over enrollment concerns.
Rene did not return the newspaper’s request for comment.
Two other students had agreed to pay the dean about $18,000, but it fell through after he was fired, according to the report. Nearly $13,500 in checks and money orders for the law school program was found in the dean’s office.
Also, some students ineligible for federal financial aid were given scholarships large enough to receive “substantial refunds,” according to audit.
The investigation determined that about six students were told to send (Rene) funds in exchange for enrollment and/or financial aid,” the report states.