No further investigation of NDSCS

FSS reported it did not identify any improprieties in its review of the Old Main (pictured), water and sewer and stadium capital projects.

North Dakota State College of Science, Wahpeton, appears to have passed its test.

Forensic Strategic Solutions, a firm which reviewed allegations regarding NDSCS’ operations, submitted a final report to North Dakota University System Chancellor Dr. Mark Hagerott. The report, entered into public record on Monday, was presented as a concluding statement rather than the precursor to further investigation.

“Our assessment and investigation has not identified any improprieties, misrepresentations, or areas where we believe sufficient predication exists to expand our scope of work or to recommend a fraud examination,” wrote Kelly Todd of Forensic Strategic Solutions.

NDSCS stated it agreed with FSS’s findings, appreciating the efforts of both the firm and the University System in completing the investigation.

“I trust the process the board has in place to conduct the audit and the audit will validate that our practices and procedures are in full compliance with (State Board of Higher Education) policies,” Dr. John Richman, NDSCS president, said earlier this summer.

Throughout its investigation, FSS searched for any sign indicative of fraud, waste and abuse. Complaints were received about financial statements of the TrainND program, how enrollment numbers were reported and how space on campus was classified, Daily News Media previously reported.

Specific findings were made in four fields: enrollment, space utilization, the TrainND program and capital projects.

The enrollment investigation revealed overall discrepancies in NDSCS’ favor. For example, the college published a total enrollment of 2,827 students in spring 2018. According to FSS, the total enrollment was actually 2,843 students. Similar favorable discrepancies were found for enrollment totals in fall 2016, spring 2017 and fall 2017.

“Our analysis identified a process that was performed transparently in the categorization of NDSCS rooms and reasons for the changes in room categorizations,” FSS continued.

While FSS did not identify any improprieties in TrainND’s financial reporting general ledger detail and transactional data, it did identify a significant decrease in non-credit course fees.

“It was explained to us that the revenue decline resulted from a shift in focus away from the offerings by the department,” Todd wrote. “Additional analysis of the financial data did not preclude this explanation.”

FSS also made recommendations for regular compliance monitoring and more consistent registration reporting, which NDSCS agrees with.

“(We look) forward to the ND University System providing a system interface between TrainND Software and PeopleSoft to reduce the vulnerability to improprieties in all four TrainND regions,” Richman responded.

Finally, FSS reported it did not identify any improprieties in its review of the Old Main, water and sewer and stadium capital projects.

Classes for NDSCS’ fall 2018 semester begin on Monday, Aug. 20.

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