Coming Soon: More performance audits of Ohio public colleges

Ohio State University

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Ohio State University

Public colleges and universities across Ohio will be subject to more frequent performance audits, under a measure signed into law by Gov. Mike DeWine.

“It’s finding ways to do things better, faster, cheaper,” said Ohio Auditor Keith Faber of performance audits which look at ways systems could be improved.

Supporters of performance audits say their a means to finding millions of dollars in savings for Ohio’s 23 community colleges and 14 public universities, which can help keep a lid on the rising costs of higher education. A performance audit released in October 2018 identified $6.4 million in potential savings in how Ohio State University runs its information technology and print management services.

In 2011, state law changed to allow the state auditor’s office to conduct at least four performance audits of state agencies every two years. In 2017, the law changed again to include one higher education institution to the performance audit minimum but at that rate it’d take the state auditor more than 70 years to conduct performance audits on each of Ohio’s 37 public colleges.

“By removing the cap on higher education performance audits, it will certainly allow us to find efficiencies across the state that benefit students and ultimately our workforce in Ohio,” said Faber in a written statement.

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The auditor’s office has oversight of 6,000 state and local government agencies. Financial audits look back to make sure public money was properly spent and internal controls are in place. Performance audits look at ways systems could be improved.

The auditor’s office charges public organizations for audits, based on the size, scope and time requirements. Performance audits for local governments may cost tens of thousands of dollars while the examination of the Ohio Department of Transportation, which as a $4 billion budget, may cost about $1 million, Faber said.

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Performance audits are currently underway for ODOT, Ohio Department of Education, Ohio Department of Public Safety, and the state’s College Credit Plus program, the auditor said.

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