Alleged grant mismanagement costs JSU $1.17 million

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Jackson State University has agreed to pay the U.S. government $1.17 million dollars to settle allegations that the school mismanaged National Science Foundation grants from June 1, 2006- Sept. 30, 2011.

Payments made over time will not have an immediate impact on JSU’s operating budget or cash reserves, according to the school.

“Each year the National Science Foundation awards millions of dollars in grants to institutions to promote promising scientific research. Fabricating information to improperly obtain and spend scarce research dollars will not be tolerated,” said Allison Lerner, Inspector General at the National Science Foundation.

The settlement agreement is not an admission of any wrongful conduct by JSU. The settlement includes a compliance agreement with the National Science Foundation for the next five years.

“Our relationship with the National Science Foundation, as well as with other federal agencies and private foundations, is very important and has a tremendous impact on Jackson State University,” said Dr. Rod Paige, the school’s interim president.

In 2012, the foundation auditors identified inconsistencies that resulted in an investigation by the National Science Foundation Office of the Inspector General. JSU fully cooperated and in mid-2013 implemented a corrective-action plan.

“Recipients of federally funded grants must adhere to the regulations applicable to those grants and accurately report on the required information,” stated Gregory K. Davis, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Mississippi. “This settlement sends a strong signal to grant recipients that failure to follow the applicable requirements may lead to significant financial consequences.”

The university is training faculty to improve financial management and operating an electronic system that will track time and efforts within management to prevent further problems.

“We are grateful for the support these entities provide for cutting-edge research and innovative, technology-infused academic programs and for the support they provide for students through research assistantships and scholarships, and we look forward to future partnerships with these organizations,” said Paige.