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‘You Better Call Tyrone’: Students Tear Apart Howard University After Damning Admission of Financial Aid Fraud

Howard University Financial Aid

From 2007 to 2016, some university employees received grants in addition to discounts on their financial aid, an internal audit revealed. ( AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

The president of Howard University on Wednesday confirmed the firings of six financial aid employees last year who were caught misappropriating university-based grants and keeping the money for themselves.

In a statement, Howard University President Wayne Frederick said an internal investigation found that several university employees received grants on top of the discounts they were already receiving on their tuition, NBC News Washington reported. The discounts exceeded the cost of attendance, allowing some individuals to pocket handsome refunds.

“The financial integrity of Howard University’s operations is paramount and strong measures have been taken following the RSM investigation to ensure this never happens again,” Frederick wrote. “As part of these reform efforts, significant new policies and procedures have been implemented to strengthen Howard’s internal controls with respect to the awarding of financial aid.”

The president noted that the grants, which were intended to help low-income students, came from the university and were not federal or donor-given funds.

“… While this has been a very difficult and disappointing situation, I know our campus community deserves better and I am committed to ensuring that each of our campus offices operate with integrity and are the best that higher education has to offer,” he added.

The damning revelation comes amid fallout from an anonymous blog post accusing Howard financial aid employees of stealing nearly $1 million in financial aid funds. The post, shared on online blog Medium, has since been deleted.

News of the HBCU scandal sent social media into a tizzy early Wednesday, with many Howard students expressing disappointment and anger at the situation. Some students even shared stories of how they were forced to drop-out of Howard, where tuition averages $23,419 per year, after their financial aid somehow fell through.

“I’m actually on the verge of transferring schools because I can’t afford to stay here because a grant was taken away from me,” one student told NBC News Washington.

Many others took to Twitter to share their outrage.

Attention then turned to a man named Tyrone Hankerson Jr., a student-employee at the financial aid office who allegedly stole more than $430,000 from the department. Social media was soon flooded with photos from of Hankerson’s Instagram page, showing him dressed in expensive designer clothes, traveling overseas and even toting a Gucci messenger bag.

Hankerson’s flashy lifestyle, which many suspect was afforded to him through stolen funds, only added fuel to the fire.

In the wake of the fallout, Hankerson has denied any wrongdoing in the Howard financial aid scandal, saying in a statement he “would never do anything to hurt an institution I love so much.”

“When all is fully disclosed, the truth will prevail and I know I’ll be vindicated,” he wrote.

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