Howard University is front and center in a scandal where officials and students at the school allegedly stole around $1 million in financial aid from the vaunted HBCU. Tyrone Hankerson Jr. found his name trending on Twitter Wednesday (Mar. 28) after he was named in a Medium blog post alleging his connection to the crime.
Phony grants were allegedly created and awarded to financial aid employees who were also registered for University courses. In some cases, these employees qualified for tuition remission and therefore weren’t charged tuition for their classes. Despite this, they still received large grants and scholarships that exceeded amounts generally awarded to normal students. These grants almost always exceeded legally allowed amounts.
In 2013, for example, the Associate Director of Financial Aid, Brian Johnson, received tuition remission, and despite this, also received “University Need Based Grants” totaling $35,400 one year and more than $68,000 the following year. These grants are intended for low-income students who are in desperate need of assistance and in danger of having their education disrupted by their inability to pay. The grant amounts usually range between $2,000 to $5,500 a semester. A current financial aid employee described the amount awarded to the former Associate Director as “unprecedented” and “illegal.” Total aid received by the Associate Director neared $200,000.
Unfortunately, however, this was not the last time a grant of that amount had been awarded. Between 2014 and 2017, another financial aid student-employee, Tyrone Hankerson, was repeatedly awarded a $65,000 “University Need Based Grant.” In 2014, Hankerson was awarded another $22,683 scholarship, labeled as a Mock Trial Scholarship. Sources who have been involved with the mock trial, including past leadership, say the team has never awarded a scholarship of that amount and wouldn’t even have had the budget to accommodate a scholarship of that amount.
As the piece notes, this information came by way of a student only known as Chase as to protect their identity. It also states that Howard University brass were well aware of the scandal yet has chosen not to publicly address it.
Hankerson’s first name has been trending on Twitter since this morning and we’ve collected a number of the reactions below and on the following pages.
UPDATE: After a full day went by after the publishing of the Medium piece and no word from Howard University’s leadership, President Wayne A.I. Frederick addressed the chatter and said that six employees connected to the scam have since been fired.