At his final board meeting, FSCJ's outgoing president tried to explain the college’s controversial program that may end up costing Florida taxpayers million of dollars.
Dr. Steven Wallace said, "Not all innovations work. Most of the time they do, but sometimes they don't meet our expectations."
The program might have awarded FSCJ students millions of dollars in Federal Pell Grant money they should have never received. FSCJ then accepted that money in tuition payments, funds the state college might now have to pay back to Uncle Sam. Students got their federal grants, FSCJ got paid, but now Florida taxpayers might have to pick up the tab.
"There aren't any rules against doing this, but it's unique. So it has raised leg questions."
According to a preliminary report from the U.S. Department of Education, students courses were tracked by a computer program that automatically changed students majors without their knowledge. Wallace said it was meant to help students graduate.
Wallace said, "If the student came in to take welding and the computer found they were taking courses that would add to an Associates of arts degree, [the program] would add an Associates of Arts degree to that students record."
The school's vice-president of student affairs estimates, the mistake could cost the school upward of $25 million. A mistake noted in a federal government report.
Jeanne Miller, FSCJ General Counsel, said, "This preliminary report is not a final report; it's not a finding. It's a proposed finding; we will address that in 60 days and I would encourage you to reserve judgment."