ALBANY, GA (WALB) - In August, WALB began receiving phone calls from Albany State students who said they were in "education limbo," because the financial aid they were counting on to get the courses they needed to get their degrees at Albany State wasn't available when it came time to register for fall classes.
When we asked ASU management about this, we were told that the school was "looking into irregularities" within its financial aid department, and were given no details. We have since asked the Board of Regents for a copy of its audit, but so far, we have not received it.
On August 27, WALB's Aaryn Valenzuela reported that ASU officials said their investigation "would not interfere with students getting their financial aid." They would not say if anyone had been fired or suspended in relation to the issue.
But students still told us about problems that caused them to be unable to attend class, because the money was not there.
When Aaryn followed up on the story on September 16, the picture was no clearer, and ASU management had nothing to say about the investigation, or how the students who depended on aid would fare.
Then on October 20, ASU president sent this message to the students about problems in the financial aid office:
'On behalf of ASU Interim President Art Dunning
A Message to the Albany State University Community
Investigation of the Financial Aid Office concluded
Earlier, we communicated with the campus about a report of irregularities in our financial aid office. We engaged the proper authorities and launched an immediate, complete and thorough investigation. That investigation has now been completed.
The investigation revealed serious misconduct on the part of several of our employees. We have taken appropriate disciplinary action with the involved employees.
I want to make very clear that this type of misconduct has no place at Albany State University.
We are moving forward to ensure that the financial aid office has the human and technical resources, policies and protocols in place to better serve the needs of our students. Going forward, we can assure you that proper oversight, integrity of the process and quality customer service will be the priorities of the financial aid office.