Two years ago, a state agency missed a deadline to file paperwork with the U.S. Department of Education.
Now, that mistake has come back to haunt Minnesota's State Colleges and Universities. For the second year in a row, MnSCU's 31 schools have landed on a government watch list of 550 colleges requiring "extra financial scrutiny."
And officials are scrambling to explain that doesn't mean the schools are in financial trouble.
"It is important to realize that this action does not in any way suggest financial instability or any other problems in the MnSCU system or its colleges and universities," school officials said in a statement released Wednesday.
The Department of Education released its new watch list on Tuesday, prompting calls of concern to MnSCU offices, said spokesman Doug Anderson.
Apparently, the mistake occurred in 2013, when Minnesota's Office of Management and Budget missed the federal deadline to file an audit of MnSCU's financial aid programs. As a result, MnSCU has faced some "special requirements" for disbursing financial aid, but it's "not having any direct impact on students," the statement said.
Once on the federal list, a college or university remains on it for five years.
In addition, four private Minnesota colleges were put on heightened financial scrutiny for other reasons, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education.They are:
Art Institutes International in Minneapolis
Brown College in Mendota Heights
Crossroads College in Rochester
Walden University in Minneapolis
The reasons cited were "financial responsibility" or "administrative capability."