NSF OIG Discloses Additional Issues With MIT’s Handling of GRFP
Six months after finding that Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) was inappropriately charging tuition to participants in the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP), auditors for NSF’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) said MIT also is not properly paying fellows, nor is it accurately accounting for cash drawdowns, among other issues. In an Aug. 23 memo to NSF, OIG officials made five recommendations for changes in policies and procedures; MIT agreed to all of them.
Regarding payments to fellows, OIG said MIT overpaid some and underpaid others because it “prorated stipend payments by the day, instead of whole month increments as required.” Additionally, auditors found MIT drew down $6.8 million more for one award than it recorded. Moreover, institutions are required to “submit an annual completion report certifying the completion status—in progress, completed, graduated, transferred, or withdrawn–of fellows at the institution and degree, if awarded. MIT did not submit completion reports between 2016 and 2021,” according to the memorandum. The findings are part of an overall OIG audit of NSF’s oversight of GRFP that it began in 2020. To date, OIG has not released the audit, just these two memorandums about MIT.