Efficiency Audits to be Heard Next Week

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Legislation that would initiate a process for efficiency audits to be performed for public higher education institutions will be heard this week in the House Education Administration & Planning Committee. This legislation, HB0738 by Rep. Martin Daniel (R-Knoxville), would also create a new Joint Higher Education Efficiency Audit Committee, composed of three members of the Senate appointed by the Speaker of the Senate; three members of the House of Representatives appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives; the Comptroller of the Treasury or the Comptroller’s designee; the Executive Director of the Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC) or the Executive Director’s designee; and the State Treasurer or the Treasurer’s designee.

The efficiency audit would not be a financial audit but would be conducted by an outside party to determine inefficiencies and would include recommendations on strategies to improve the institution’s efficiency.

The University is regularly audited and recently went through a performance audit conducted by the State Comptroller’s Office in which there were no findings or recommendations, representing a clean bill of management health. The University has made efficiency and effectiveness important focus areas and will continue to do so. The legislation, however, sets up a new government structure to audit and monitor efficiencies, something that could, in theory, be accomplished through the Tennessee Comptroller’s Office if provided sufficient funding. It also ventures into areas, such as curriculum, that are concerning to colleges and universities across the state.

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