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New Audit Goes After Stanford’s Staff Benefits

September 29, 1991

STANFORD, Calif. (AP) _ Stanford University was hit with a new federal audit that says the school should receive $19 million less for benefits to staff working on federal research grants, a school official said.

The confidential audit, issued last week by the Defense Contract Audit Agency, recommended the U.S. government reduce the amount it pays Stanford by almost a third, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Saturday.

Most of the proposed cuts cover graduate students who receive tuition waivers in return for working as teaching or research assistants, said Peter Van Etten, Stanford’s chief financial officer.

″The impact would be very, very serious on our ability to fund graduate students,″ Van Etten said.

The university, which has a $40 million budget deficit, received the report as thousands began gathering to celebrate the university’s centennial this week.

Last year, a worker with the Office of Naval Research, the department that oversees the university’s research accounts, accused Stanford of overbilling the government as much as $200 million for research costs in the 1980s. Stanford has paid back $1.35 million, including costs for maintenance of a yacht and the mausoleum where the school’s namesake is entombed.

The latest audit opens a new area of inquiry into how Stanford spends federal money.

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