Yale University has today agreed to pay the federal government $7.6 million to settle issues arising from a broad, multi-year investigation of federal research grant accounting going back to 1999. The settlement covers Yale’s grants with substantially all of its federal sponsors.
At the start of the investigation in June 2006, President Richard C. Levin announced the University’s immediate and full cooperation. Yale produced more than a million pages of documents in response to governmental requests for information and actively assisted government investigators in analyzing questioned transactions and accounting practices.
Although Yale and the Government did not agree completely on either the nature or extent of errors in the charging of costs to federal awards, the University acknowledged that some errors did occur, particularly with respect to transfers of costs to some federal awards from other federal awards or Yale accounts. The settlement also covers inadequacies in the accounting for effort devoted by faculty to federal awards. In its agreement with the Government, Yale denied liability for any false claims or statements in connection with its grants and received a release for the conduct covered by the settlement.
In the last several years, the University has upgraded its cost accounting and effort reporting systems. In 2006, the University created the Office of Research Administration (ORA) and the positions of Associate Vice President for Research Administration and Research Compliance Officer. The new Office has developed mandatory training programs for faculty and staff, revised and updated numerous policies and procedures, implemented a new easy-to-use web-based effort reporting system, and tightened oversight of cost transfers through a robust documentation and review process.
In addition, the Yale Corporation, the University’s governing body, has strengthened the Charter of the Audit Committee and mandated periodic reporting requirements on research compliance. The University also established a senior management committee to regularly review and oversee action on audit, internal control and compliance issues. A major overhaul of Yale’s on-line capabilities in grant administration is under way.
In announcing the settlement to Yale’s faculty and staff, President Richard C. Levin said: "We are the fortunate recipients of more than $400 million of federal research grants annually, grants that enable Yale to participate in the advancement of knowledge, the cure of disease, and the betterment of the human condition. As stewards of public funds, it is our duty to adhere strictly to the regulations."
In the period covered by the investigation, Yale received approximately $3 billion in federal grant and contract income.