State Auditor: UNT Should Repay $75.6 Million to State

A report from the Texas State Auditor says the University of North Texas should repay $75.6 million to the state over the next 10 years.

The opinion comes after an audit by the UNT system in the spring found that the college had received about $83 million in excess funds from 2004-2014 and may have been taking in extra money since the 1970’s.

At that time it was determined that officials manipulated the payroll to take in the funds.

UNT President Neal Smatresk said Thursday that he was not surprised to hear the state auditor’s findings, but said the university is still working to settle their books to find out what their actual contingent liability to the state will be. He expects the number to continue dropping though as it did with this report.

Smatresk, who just took the office of university president this year, said he was surprised to see the issue resurface this week and in this way, especially as his officials have been working with the state to figure the issue out and get to the bottom of it fairly.

“We’ve made major changes in our financial system, we’ve replaced nearly the entire office of finance and administration around the budgeting area, and have terrific leadership,” he said.

The president added that the university’s books today are on track and they’re now receiving the right amount of money to run the university.

Smatresk said their goal remains to educate the students at UNT and he hopes that goal will not be harmed as they effort the right the wrongs of the past.

“To take a large amount of money away from us I think would be punitive and more importantly wouldn’t be fair to our students,” Smatresk said.

UNT System Chancellor Lee Jackson echoed those remarks. In a statement to the press he wrote:

“The State Auditor’s report confirms what we told them in the spring following our internal investigation. UNT had several senior finance leaders, who may have been well intended, but employed financial practices for a number of years that were clearly improper. We are working with state officials to achieve a fair solution to this matter – one that doesn’t harm future students and UNT’s mission to serve the region’s needs.”

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