Lake Michigan College responds to claims of financial aid noncompliance

Published 7:49 am Monday, May 9, 2016

Lake Michigan College has released a statement regarding accusations made by former college president Jennifer Spielvogel that the college was in violation of rules regarding financial aid.

Spielvogel, who was fired Thursday after just four months on the job, accused the community college’s board of trustees of working to terminate her after she uncovered evidence that the school was in noncompliance with rules regarding financial aid for students.

The board voted unanimously to fire Spielvogel after an investigation found that she allegedly made unauthorized and unapproved expenditures exceeding $20,000, violated multiple board policies and made inappropriate comments about board members, school staff and community members.

“Until we have an opportunity to learn more about the specifics of Dr. Spielvogel’s allegations regarding this issue, we are unable to comment directly, but LMC has a solid history working with student financial aid programs and resources,” said Candice Elders, marketing director, in a statement released to the media Thursday evening. “LMC has been in the process of doing routine evaluations and assessments of all our student service functions and we’re always looking for ways to improve, but we have no reason to believe this morning’s remarks should cause students, families or employees any concern whatsoever.”

The statement went on to say that LMC participates in a rigorous audit performed by an independent certified public accounting firm for the purpose of providing assurance to the federal government that it is managing financial aid and other government funds appropriately. The audit, the statement read, encompasses both financial and compliance components and is submitted to the Federal Audit Clearinghouse.

“In reviewing LMC’s past 15 years of A-133 audit reports, the college has received an unqualified/unmodified opinion each year,” the statement read. “An unqualified/unmodified opinion is an independent auditor’s judgment that an organization’s financial records and financial statements are fairly and appropriately presented, and in accordance with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP).

“In addition, the independent auditor’s report indicates that the schedule of expenditure of federal awards is fairly stated in all material respects in relation to the financial statements as a whole and that the results of the auditor’s tests disclosed no instances of noncompliance or other matters that are required to be reported under Government Auditing Standards.”