UC Riverside medical school funding called into question after state audit

A state audit of the University of California's Office of the President revealed the university retained $175 million in undisclosed money, raising ethical questions about the university's recent 2.5 percent tuition hike as well as the nature of the $2 million given to the UC Riverside School of Medicine, according to The Press-Enterprise.

In January, UC regents voted to raise student tuition across all campuses, claiming the system needed an additional $88 million for the 2017-2018 academic year, according to the report.

However, an audit released April 25 revealed UC President Janet Napolitano, JD, "was sitting on [an] undisclosed … discretionary fund of $92 million and a restricted reserve of $83 million," according to the report. A spokesperson for State Auditor Elaine Howle told The Press-Enterprise the funds' existence was not shared with the board of regents during the annual budgeting process. Board members allege they would have reconsidered raising tuition had Ms. Napolitano disclosed the funds, as $175 million was more than sufficient to cover the $88 million needed for the upcoming academic year.

Ms. Napolitano said the university system's budgeting practices "reflect strategic, deliberate and transparent spending," and that the two funds had "received substantial public attention," according to the report. In a letter to auditors, Ms. Napolitano said the university used the undisclosed funds for a number of university projects, including the implementation of a carbon-neutral initiative, a food insecurity program and to bolster the university's cybersecurity, in addition to funding the medical school.

The report stated the reserve funds were partly amassed from campus assessments that were not spent year to year. A spokesperson for the state auditor said the university raised campus assessment amounts twice in four years, according to the report

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