The State of NH Legislative Budget Assistant (LBA) Audit division has been working with CCSNH for the last year on a performance audit. These audits are conducted periodically to provide a critical look at how a state-funded entity is operating, utilizing resources, and fulfilling its mission. We thank the audit team for their efforts over the past several months and feel they have provided us with valuable feedback.
Understanding the lens of the LBA audit is very important. It is designed to identify weaknesses and potential risk, not to be a balanced and comprehensive review of organizational performance. In addition, given LBA's own resource constraints, the limited scope of the audit did not allow them to look beyond internal operations or to engage some important stakeholders that benefit from the work we do – particularly our students, alumni, and the businesses we serve.
The performance audit focused chiefly on improving internal policies, processes and procedures and as such, will be a valuable tool for organizational improvement. In many cases, CCSNH has already addressed issues raised in the time since the audit period, or is in the process of doing so.
CCSNH separately undergoes an annual financial audit, the most recent of which, conducted by Berry Dunn, found no material weaknesses in our financial processes, operations or statements. In addition, all seven NH community colleges participate in a rigorous, industry-specific and comprehensive accreditation process through the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. All of these mechanisms are helpful to CCSNH and its component colleges.
We appreciate the areas of concern raised by the report. CCSNH is continually evolving as an organization focused on the core mission elements of student success, alignment with NH’s economic needs, affordability, and access. In mission delivery, CCSNH has demonstrated significant achievement, a few examples of which are highlighted below.
In the coming weeks, CCSNH will convene a task force to review progress on identified issues. The task force will be chaired by CCSNH trustee Rebecca Clerkin, who is the CCSNH employee member of the board.
Higher education institutions across the country are facing challenges brought about by changing economic and demographic considerations, technological advances, fiscal pressures, and changing needs of students among other factors. CCSNH leadership, faculty and staff across the system are working to ensure the success of our students, the sustainability of our institutions, and the continued alignment of our efforts with the needs of the State. We thank the Office of Legislative Budget Assistant for their helpful input pertaining to CCSNH operational improvement, and our ongoing partnership with the State of New Hampshire.
While business processes are a very important part of CCSNH's operations, how we meet our mission to and for students is a core element of our mission. Below are just a few performance metrics demonstrating our commitment to student success and access.