A federal audit released Monday found that UNC Chapel Hill over-billed federal research programs by nearly $353,000.
The June report from the Office of Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said the irregularities occurred between July 1, 2009 and June 30, 2011.
During that time, UNC ranked ninth nationally in DHHS dollar awards to U.S. colleges and universities, claiming reimbursement for $956.3 million incurred on 1,447 grants, contracts and other agreements. UNC was one of several institutions selected for a random audit.
The Inspector General sampled 163 transactions totaling $8.5 million and found that 8 were either not allowable or partially allowable. In addition, UNC claimed nearly $17,000 in costs related to the unallowable transactions.
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The report recommended that UNC refund a total of $352,843 in disallowed costs. UNC officials agreed with the recommendations, the report said.
Federal inspectors concluded that UNC’s claims were not allowed, not adequately documented, not reasonable, not treated consistently or filed in duplicate. The improper claims were for scientific equipment, laptop computer, printer cartridges, research animal care, foreign housing and equipment insurance.
UNC concurred with the findings in its May 5 response to the Inspector General. The university also said it is improving its internal processes and planned to hold a full-day symposium in July to train research administrators in cost accounting and other aspects of federal grants.
UNC also said it bought audit software to help monitor certain federal expenses.