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Audit Says College Wasn’t Eligible For $42 Million In Grants

The audit says some courses at St. Mary-of-the-Woods College were improperly classified, making students taking those classes ineligible for federal grants.

St. Mary

Photo: Amy Mo (Flickr)

St. Mary-of-the-Wood College says its distance learning is one of the oldest and most innovative in the nation.

A federal audit says St. Mary of the Woods College in West Terre Haute received $42 million in student grants and loans from 2005 to 2010 for which it was not eligible. The audit says students in the college’s distance learning program should not have received aid because the courses were not classified correctly.

The classes, taken mostly online, were called telecommunication courses. The audit says these classes should have been called “correspondence courses”—a category that is not eligible for grants.

St. Mary-of-the-Woods President Dottie King says she thinks it is unlikely the Department of Education will uphold the audit’s findings. And even if the school is required to pay back some of the grants, the amount will be significantly less than $42 million.

“We have done nothing wrong but provide a great education,” she says.

King says she looks forward to meeting with Department of Education officials to settle the matter.

Audit From The Inspector General

Gretchen Frazee

Gretchen Frazee is a reporter/producer for WFIU and WTIU news. Prior to her current role, Frazee worked as the associate online content coordinator for WFIU/WTIU. She graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia where she studied multimedia journalism and anthropology. You can follow her on Twitter @gretchenfrazee.

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