Towson University has cost itself tuition money by not taking adequate steps to verify the residency of in-state students, according to a recently released state audit.
The three-year review by the Office of Legislative Audits found that supervisors did not always review determinations of residency and that the university could not document some apparent changes in residency.
Auditors examined 24 students who paid in-state tuition but had out-of-state addresses, according to the university's files.
They found inadequate documentation for four of the students and determined that those students were undercharged $30,289 for the 2008-2009 school year.
"That's just an example," said Bruce Myers, director of the office of audits. "My guess is that if they look, they would find more."
The report recommends that the university add a layer of review for residency determinations, beef up its documentation of residency changes and weed out any students who are incorrectly classified.
In its response, Towson promises annual audits of residency for new students, thrice-annual audits of residency changes and revised billings for students who are improperly classified.
"We have solutions in place," said Towson spokeswoman Marina Cooper. "I don't think it will be a problem to rectify the situation."
The audit, which covers a period from March 2006 to February 2009, also criticizes the university for inconsistent oversight of employee purchasing, inadequate computer security and poor record-keeping related to student loans and scholarship checks.
Though such shortcomings are common in legislative reviews of state universities, auditors noted that Towson had failed to address several criticisms from its last report, in 2006.
"I know that's something the legislature has been focusing on, the repeat items," Myers said.