College admin still looking at fee waiver issue
Using tuition fee waivers for recruiting or marketing purposes is a thing of the past as college officials continue to look into an incident where an OCCC fee waiver turned up for sale on Craigslist earlier this year.
At that time, the $2,300 waiver, being advertised for $700, was discovered to have originated in the Marketing and Public Relations office.
Although a report has not yet been completed, OCCC President Jerry Steward said nothing similar will ever happen again.
Steward said tuition waivers are now going to be honored only for the person to whom they are awarded. And, he said, there will be tighter criteria.
He said he made several decisions the day the waiver was brought to his attention.
“ … We aren’t going to do any more tuition fee waivers and honor them for anyone who isn’t the direct recipient,” Steward said. “It’s got to be for the person it’s directed to.
“I also directed that we’re suspending providing any tuition fee waivers as a promotional item. There’s got to be criteria of why we’re giving a tuition waiver, what it’s based upon.”
Steward said he is waiting for the comprehensive report from Acting Vice President for Enrollment and Student Services Lisa Fisher.
Fisher declined an interview, directing questions to Bloomberg regarding the Craigslist tuition waiver.
Steward said future awards will not be honored if they are sold on Craigslist or other venues.
“Tuition fee waivers have their place,” he said. “They’re allowed so we can help certain students, but we have to be thoughtful and deliberate and logical in the way they’re awarded. It won’t be based upon marketing.
“In the future, I anticipate we’ll have much tighter … more logical criteria we use for tuition fee waivers.
“If someone decides to put it on Craigslist or something like that, it won’t be honored. It is absolutely not right.”
In July, an Open Records request turned up emails between Marketing and Public Relations Director Cordell Jordan and Teresa Coker from News9 where Jordan had provided Coker with guidelines for a promotional fee waiver certificate for use in a ‘Duck Week’ charity fundraiser in Piedmont, as well as permission to use the OCCC logo on the waiver.
The certificate, bearing the OCCC brand, ended up in the hands of Oklahoma City resident Steve Graham, who while unable to redeem it, attempted to sell it on Craigslist. He said it was donated to his church.
When brought to the attention of school officials, the tuition fee waiver program was put under review, and Executive Vice President Steve Bloomberg indicated his intent to launch an investigation into the incident with a report to be released Oct. 1.
As of press time, the report is not completed, said Executive Vice President Assistant Brendan Hill. He said more time-sensitive issues have come through the office of Bloomberg, delaying its completion.
The Pioneer will continue to follow this story and update as more information becomes available. To read the original story that ran July 3, visit the Pioneer Online at http://pioneer.occc.edu/occc-tuition-fee-waiver-found-on-craigslist/.