Incoming freshman at Howard University in Northwest kick off their school year with an event at Andrew Rankin Memorial Chapel on Aug. 11. (Roy Lewis/The Washington Informer)
**FILE** Incoming freshman at Howard University in Northwest kick off the fall 2019 semester with an event at Andrew Rankin Memorial Chapel on Aug. 11. (Roy Lewis/The Washington Informer)

The U. S. Department of Education has notified Howard University of its removal from the Heightened Cash Monitoring method of payment, which now allows the school to return to the advanced method of payment.

Under the new method of payment announced in mid-December, Howard — which may now draw down Title IV funds without approval from the School Participation Division-Philadelphia/DC — is no longer required to make disbursements to eligible students with institutional funds before drawing down funds from the Department of Education.

“We’ve been very diligent in partnering with the Department of Education to improve our Office of Financial Aid to more effectively administer aid and improve levels of service provided,” Howard President Wayne A.I. Frederick said in a statement. “We will continue to work closely with the Department of Education and other entities to improve service and continue to provide the world-class education that our students deserve.”

In April 2018, the Department of Education began an extensive program review and, in August 2018, elected to place Howard University on Heightened Cash Monitoring 2 status to closely monitor the institution’s financial aid management.

On June 27, 2019, Howard University was removed from the Heightened Cash Monitoring 2 method of payment and elevated to Heightened Cash Monitoring 1.

Since April 2018, Howard University has implemented the following improvements:

• Hiring of a new, permanent Director of Financial Aid.
• Completion of other strategic hires including a new Associate Provost for Enrollment Management.
• Significantly increased staffing in the Financial Aid Office.
• Approval for all awards of University grants are now reviewed and approved by the Budget Office (for unrestricted institutional aid) and the Controller’s Office (for donor-directed aid) prior to award by the Financial Aid Office.
• Access to the Banner financial aid module has now been limited to a small number of appropriate senior University individuals, with adequate third-party review and appropriate segregation of duties.
• Financial Aid Services, an outside firm that provides universities with student financial aid services, has been retained and assigned a comprehensive range of tasks related to the improvement of Howard’s administration of financial aid.

“In alignment with our five-year strategic plan, our journey of continuous progress is well underway,” Frederick said. “Further improvements and enhancements continue to occur in our enrollment management area, which includes our financial aid office. This demonstrable success is testimony to the incredible leadership by senior members of my team and the Office of Financial Aid to quickly implement enhancements to move Howard forward.”

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WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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