Auditor raises concerns over LSU scholarships

LSU says it is in the process of developing criteria for how its Board of Supervisors hands out scholarships, following the release of a legislative auditor’s report that found inconsistencies and other lapses.

Just a year ago, the Louisiana Legislature passed a law that requires annual reporting of who receives college scholarships from members of LSU’s governing board.

LSU’s 15 governor-appointed and one student-elected board members can award up to 20 scholarships each, but the audit found that there still are no specific criteria regarding academic excellence, special talent or financial need, nor did the university keep records of such qualities of recipients.

“The application required to be submitted for consideration of the BOS (Board of Supervisors) scholarship does not appear to include adequate information to evaluate if the applicant meets the determining factors,” the audit concludes.

Further, because of the board’s poor handling of applications, some applicants have gone overlooked, it notes.

LSU supervisors gave out 226 scholarships for the 2013-2014 school year, up nine from the year before. LSU’s scholarship report for 2012-2013 school year reported the value at $1.35 million.

But the auditor also noted flaws in the initial report, required under the 2013 law, that have since been revised.

According to the auditor’s office, 17 students were left off the recipients list and three listed didn’t actually end up receiving the award because they didn’t attend LSU. The report recommends several changes, including developing specific criteria for recipients and keeping better records.

The university’s response, signed by Daniel T. Layzell, vice president and chief financial officer for LSU, says criteria will be revised to define determining factors and a process will be established for documenting the determining factors met by each student.

Layzell’s letter also says a formal policy will be developed to establish procedures for accepting and tracking all applications.

Follow Elizabeth Crisp on Twitter @elizabethcrisp. For more coverage of the Louisiana Legislature, follow our Politics blog at http://blogs.theadvocate.com/politicsblog .