Coppin lax in pursuing unpaid student bills, audit finds

For the fourth time since 2004, state auditors found that Coppin State University did not take action against some students with unpaid bills and allowed them to continue to register for classes.

In a random sampling of 10 delinquent student accounts, auditors from the Office of Legislative Audits found that seven of the accounts had either not been sent to the state's central bill collecting agency or had been sent after months had gone by.


Coppin officials noted in a statement that the university has gone through recent turnover in its administration, including the official responsible for finance. Half of the audit's findings were corrected before the report was released this week, according to Coppin.

"There is a continued commitment from the university to have adequate processes in place moving forward and eliminate the occurrence of a repeat finding," university officials said in a statement. Coppin officials said they agreed with and appreciated the audit findings.


Audits in 2004, 2007 and 2010 raised similar concerns about delinquent student accounts.

Coppin had a combined $3 million in delinquent student accounts, of which $2.3 million had been outstanding for more than four months.

Auditors said that though the delinquent accounts were supposed to be flagged in the system so that students would be unable to register for more classes, either those flags were not placed or they were removed without explanation.

Further, though students can register for classes with delinquent accounts if they have an approved installation payment plan, Coppin had no written procedures for such payment plans, though they were required to under University System of Maryland policy.

In the university's response included in the audit, Coppin officials said they had created written procedures for installation payment plans and had either fixed or were in the process of fixing the problem of forwarding student accounts to the state collection agency.