Education

State audit of UC finds no waste, fraud or abuse

Students near the Bourns College of Engineering building at the University of California, Riverside
Students near the Bourns College of Engineering building at the University of California, Riverside
Courtesy University of California, Riverside

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California’s state auditor reported no indication of waste, fraud or abuse in the multi-billion dollar University of California budget, in an audit released Thursday.

State Senator Leland Yee called for the audit last year “to hold university executives accountable.” In a press release, Yee said the findings confirmed his suspicion that the UC system does waste money.

University of California officials countered in their own press release that the five-year audit absolved the public university system of Yee’s accusations. The audit faulted UC for labeling $6 billion in expenses in a vague category titled “Miscellaneous Services.”

Yee considered that a “gotcha!” But the auditor said university stakeholders deserve more precise accounting.

Additionally, the auditor said UC didn’t have the authority to set aside $23 million in student fees for capital projects at UCLA.

The university said it had obtained the proper approvals. The state auditor urged UC to budget more transparently in the future.

The auditor’s report also asserted that there’s lower per-student spending at UC campuses with higher-than-average minority student enrollment, such as UC Merced, UC Riverside and UC Santa Barbara. University officials responded that those campuses don’t have graduate medical education programs, so that skews funding to those that do, like UC San Francisco and UCLA.