WASHINGTON (WUSA9) — Employees at Howard University are accused of getting tuition benefits to cover the cost of taking classes. According to a student, they were also receiving grant money from Howard University.
Those funds combined were more than the cost of attendance. It appears that they employee kept the extra money for themselves.
Let's start with how much money.
The student said people who worked in the financial aid office stole nearly $1 million.
Howard University won't confirm that number.
When did this happen?
When did University President Wayne Frederick first know? In a statement, he said December 2016, and six employees were fired, almost a year later in September 2017.
Our most pressing question: Why didn't Howard disclose this when Frederick found out almost a year and a half ago? WUSA9 emailed to ask. We didn't receive an answer back to that question.
Who are these employees?
The student has named names. Howard said it's against their protocol to reveal employee names, and "they don't release any student information, as we are governed by FERPA." But one person who has been named by the student, Tyrone Hankerson, has released a statement through his lawyer. He said he's "done nothing illegal or wrong."
What's being done to get the money back? And what charges do these former employees face?
Howard said they'll "exercise all of our options to recoup the funds." No other specifics were offered. And as far as charges, Howard confirms they haven't called police on anyone yet.
The lawyer of one of the people accused in the Howard University scandal released this statement:
"Law enforcement is not involved as of yet, as we are wrapping up the details of all findings. We intend to report anyone involved for criminal prosecution, as appropriate."
In the wake of this scandal, several students have expressed frustration that there was no grant money left for them. WUSA9's Debra Alfarone asked if Frederick would admit that because of this, students who needed financial aid didn't get it?
The following was the response:
"We feel strongly that every single dollar that is taken away from any Howard student is unacceptable."
Lastly, the student alleges there may be other cases of embezzlement and investigations in other University offices. Debra asked that too. No answer on that yet either.
Most of the answers we did get came from the University's Director of Public Relations. WUSA9 emailed Frederick. We called him. We even went to his home. But, we were unable to reach him.