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U.S. Education Department Asks Nonprofit Group to Return Grant

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The U.S. Department of Education has asked a nonprofit education group in New Orleans to return $1.9 million in federal grant money after the group failed to comply with guidelines.

An audit report by the Education Department found that the New Orleans Educational Talent Search Program Inc. did not file documents showing the needs of participants, such as whether they were low-income or prospective first-generation college students.

The group withdrew $303,034 more than it actually spent between Sept. 1, 2001, and Dec. 31, 2002, the report said. It also did not submit audit reports for 2000, 2001, and 2002.

In a letter to the auditors, Robert P. McFarland, the executive director of the group, maintained that the audit was improperly conducted. He said his group had served more than 6,000 middle and high school students between September 1998 and December 2001, the period covered by the audit, and had provided auditors with all relevant files and documents.

He also expressed concern over the circulation of the audit report within the Education Department, which he said “may have a negative impact on the viability of this organization.’’

Mr. McFarland said his group, which has operated for more than 30 years, has helped 30,000 disadvantaged youths to continue with high school and post-secondary education.

Vol. 24, Issue 11, Page 4

Published in Print: November 10, 2004, as U.S. Education Department Asks Nonprofit Group to Return Grant

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