Florence - Darlington Tech owes $1.6M to Department of Education

FLORENCE, SC (WBTW) - Florence- Darlington Technical College (FDTC) owes the U.S. Department of Education $1,661,939.


Last year, a reviewing agency randomly pulled student files and examined Tech’s policies and procedures on student eligibility, financial aid, attendance, and financial records. The review says it found many errors.


The college’s attorney Mark Buyck’s been with the school since the late 70s. He says a 2016 audit revealed the school did not properly document Pell grants, which is a form of financial aid.

“They were doing it manually before now they are doing it digitally. That is much easier to follow than when they were doing it manually,” said Buyck.


The documents say FDTC:

1.           Failed to perform unofficial withdrawals

2.           Failed to follow satisfactory academic progress


“There are literally thousands of students. When you get a Pell grant you have to follow them all the way through the semester. If they don’t make the grades required or they drop out,” explained Buyck. “Unfortunately we’re in a low-income area a lot of students who want to go to college come and find out that they are not qualified, it’s too much for them and they drop out. Those are the one that we probably overlooked.”


He says although 75% of students at Tech rely on student aid. He is certain there was no illegal activity.

“There were some allegations of kickbacks. I found absolutely none,” said Buyck.

The school now has 3 years to repay the money.


FDTC student Shamara Brown worries how the college repaying the debt involving financial aid will impact her and her classmates.

“Just hearing that it really kind of makes me feel like ‘why am I here?’,”  said Brown. “It’s helping me get through school. So, hearing that kind of scares me.”

 Brown says she hopes this will not mean changes to financial aid or layoffs.

“It impacting a lot of people lives, future and money,” said Brown.


Tech Board Chairperson Missy Jay says it’s too soon to say exactly how the school’s repayment will impact staff or students.

There is a called meeting this Thursday at 6 PM.

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