AG’s office investigating complaints against local technical college, sources say

OAKDALE, Pa. — Multiple sources tell 11 Investigates the Attorney General’s Office is now investigating complaints about Pittsburgh Technical College’s spending and financial management, requesting specific financial documentation from the school.

We previously reported an independent investigation was launched into President and CEO, Dr. Alicia Harvey-Smith’s spending and it found potential misconduct, which she steadfastly denied. Dr. Harvey-Smith withstood a no-confidence vote by the school’s staff last summer. Then, over 70-percent of the board resigned, leaving only two original members.

We reached out to the PA Attorney General’s Office. They tell 11 Investigates:

“We do not discuss investigations or confirm their existence.”

11 Investigates has learned in the last several weeks, the college’s Chief Financial Officer, Bursar, Director of Financial Aid, Director of Admissions and head of H.R., all resigned and Oakdale’s own Mayor stepped down from the board. Some of those folks say they can’t ethically continue enrolling students given the college’s financial status.

There are questions about whether or not the college can continue operating past the quarter ending in June. Multiple sources with knowledge of the college’s finances say the school is running out of money and there are concerns about making the July payroll. Our sources tell us all the non-profit’s credit cards have been cut off.

Since 2018, PTC’s enrollment is down 62-percent, the college has lost 67-percent of its staff and the school lost $20M in enrollment revenue.

Externally, PTC appears to be operating normally, accepting applications and student deposits. Just last weekend, the college hosted an open house for prospective students.

11 Investigates has also learned while Pennsylvania College of Technology is reportedly no longer interested in buying PTC, six to seven different, local trade schools are making contingency plans to help students should they need other options.

11 Investigates has also learned the college’s accrediting agency, Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) will be on campus next week monitoring PTC, which is currently on probation and at risk of losing its accreditation.

While there are several different agencies involved here, the next critical deadline is at the end of the month. The school has until May 30th to provide a letter of credit to the U.S. Department of Education, to get the financial lifeline it needs. Sources are telling us, at this point, no bank will lend them money.

We reached out to Pittsburgh Technical College with a list of questions about the financial status of the college, a reported independent investigation by the state Attorney General’s Office and the rash of recent resignations. The PR Team hired by the school said the following:

-We are exploring various strategic options to ensure PTC’s financial success so we can continue to educate the next generation of workers and fill the regional workforce pipeline.

-PTC is open and transparent in its communications and interactions with government agencies, but it is our policy not to comment on any ongoing inquiries.

-Like any other organization, employees leave for a variety of reasons. PTC’s top priority is its students and maintains adequate staffing levels to ensure the proper educational experience.

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