On March 27, 2020, the President signed into law the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and
Economic Security Act (“CARES Act”). The CARES Act provided $38,301,957 in
financial assistance to FIU through the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund
(HEERF). The University is required to use at least 50 percent of said funds to
provide emergency financial aid grants to eligible students for expenses related to the
disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus (including eligible expenses
under a student’s cost of attendance, such as food, housing, course materials,
technology, health care, and child care) pursuant to section 18004(c). FIU may use
the remaining funds (institution portion) to cover any costs associated with significant
changes to the delivery of instruction due to COVID-19, with certain exceptions.
Section 15010(b) of the CARES Act established the Pandemic Response
Accountability Committee, (comprising selected Offices of Inspectors General) to
promote transparency and conduct and support oversight of covered funds and the
coronavirus response. Financial assistance received through HEERF may be subject
to investigations, audits, and reviews with the following objectives, among others:

  • Detection and prevention of fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement.
  • Identification of major risks that cut across programs and agency boundaries.
  • Determination of whether wasteful spending, poor contract or grant
    management, or other abuses are occurring.
  • Determination of whether the reporting of contracts and grants using covered
    funds meets applicable standards and specifies the purpose of the contract or
    grant and measures of performance.
  • Assessing the economy, efficiency, and effectiveness in the administration of,
    and the detection of fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement in COVID-19
    response programs and operations.
  • Confirmation of whether competition requirements applicable to contracts and
    grants using covered funds have been satisfied.
  • Verification of whether personnel whose duties involve the COVID-19
    response or acquisitions, or grants made with covered funds or are otherwise
    related to the COVID-19 response receive adequate training, technology
    support, and other resources.

Sections 18004(e) and 15011 of the CARES Act delineate reporting requirements for
grantees who receive financial assistance. The U.S. Department of Education has
issued additional guidance on the required reporting.

The OIA’s Internal Audit Plan approved by the FIU Board of Trustees on June 16,
2020, contains two planned internal audits of the University’s use of CARES Act
funds. To get ahead of the curve, FIU administrators should ensure that proper and
adequate processes and documentation related to the distribution and use of CARES
Act funds are maintained.


The COVID-19 pandemic has tested the resolve of the entire FIU community. In
stellar fashion, many within this accomplished family rose to the challenge. On April
22, 2020, FIU received $19,150,979 of Emergency Financial Aid Grants from the U.S.
Department of Education pursuant to section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act. By June
25, 2020, the University distributed the entire amount in emergency financial aid
grants to 9,551 students. The financial aid provided assistance with living expenses
such as food, housing, transportation, utilities, medical, and Internet.

You can find more information on the following link:


The FIU-bred OIA Panther Audit Platform was successfully launched on May 28,
2020. On June 1st, many of our University audit clients received their first monthly
notification of outstanding audit recommendations pending implementation through
the Platform. The OIA Panther Audit Platform is designed to assist management with
the reporting and documenting of their efforts to mitigate reported audit findings. The
response to the launching of the Platform has been exceptional. Please continue to
look for these notifications on the first day of each month. In addition, feel free to
contact us for technical assistance as you use this remarkable tool.

  • Need to report fraud, waste, and abuse? You may do so
    at: (hotline) or
  • Need to report a Whistle-blower complaint? You must do so in writing to the
    OIA or call us at the contact information listed below.
  • State University System of Florida Board of Governors’ Regulations:

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