By NICK MEYERS
Pima Community College passed a compliance audit from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs following a campus visit Dec. 8-10.
“This is excellent news for our student-veterans and their families,” Karrie Mitchell, assistant vice chancellor for student development said in a news release.
The audit was intended to verify Pima’s compliance with federal regulations related to veterans’ benefits. It follows sanctions placed on the college last April by the Arizona Department of Veterans’ Services that were lifted in May.
“Many veterans have earned educational benefits serving our country and use them to transition back into civilian life,” said Daniel Kester, the college’s director of veterans and military affiliated services. “It is everyone’s responsibility to ensure that these taxpayer funds are spent wisely.”
Kester, who was hired last October, said the VA has specific and occasionally complex rules in place to ensure veterans are enrolled in programs that will prepare them for careers and higher education.
Mitchell credited the leadership of Kester and his team for playing a vital role in passing the audit.
“Dr. Kester and his team are restoring the fullest measure of trust in the quality of PCC’s service to veterans,” she said.
Kester praises his core team of district compliance officers and certification officials who put in hundreds of hours of preparation for the audit, as well as many of the college’s supervisors, managers, administrators and advisors.
“This significant achievement could not have been possible without a focused all-hands effort involving staff and administrators from our campuses and District Offices,” Lambert said.
The audit consisted of VA representatives reviewing 45 student files chosen at random from the nearly 1,450 students receiving veterans’ benefits at the college. Just four of the files were found to contain discrepancies, far below the allowable percentage.
“It really was the entire college coming together that impressed the VA,” Kester said. “And demonstrated that Pima, as a college, is serious about supporting veterans.”