Pima Community College Under The Microscope After Audit Findings Released

Pima Community College is in the hot seat after the U.S. Department of Education performed an audit and found less than satisfactory results for student attendance tracking.

The audit findings suggested that PCC wasn’t following proper protocol when tracking the attendance of students. The auditors found there to be an issue with the accuracy, speed and efficiency that the college was tracking and documenting students who were considered to be drop-outs or no-shows. This is a crucial miss-step for the school as the data collected is necessary to appropriately grant federal aid.

This isn’t the first time PCC has been informed of the lapse in appropriate attendance tracking, however. They had been previously warned by the U.S. Department of Education for years and ordered to comply with federal aid rules.

The audit report has the potential to be quite damaging for the community college as it may mean that they are no longer able to offer students financial aid and may be required to pay previously granted funds back. These consequences may in turn put the college at such a deficit that they are no longer able to operate, costing thousands of jobs and leaving students with unfulfilled educations.

PCC currently has 65% of its new students and 35% of returning students on federal financial aid. They are reported to have received upwards of $80 million in financial aid over the last two years, which drives the seriousness of the audit report home.

Faculty leader Kimlisa Duchicela told PCC’s Faculty Senate, “If we lose (federal aid) funding, we’re done. OK? We are literally done.”

Upon the reports release, PCC sent a 58 page response to the U.S. Department of Education and are now waiting to find out what the agency intends to do as a result of the findings.

The administration at the college had this to say about the audit report, “PCC acknowledges that it did not have an effective system to identify no-shows and unofficial withdrawals.”

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