Delaware students find mysterious numbers in their school’s 990

Students on The Whetstone newspaper at Wesley College in Dover, Delaware, combed through their schools Form 990 in April. As a private college, Wesley is exempt from the state’s public records act. So unlike students at public universities, the student newspaper isn’t entitled to administration records. But all private not-for-profit colleges and universities must file a Form 990 with the Internal Revenue Service and make those records available to the public. All student newspapers at private institutions should track down their school’s Form 990. It has a ton of information in it on how much money the school raises and spends and where it spends that money. A great place to find your school’s Form 990 is through ProPublica’s NonProfit Explorer search engine.

The Whetstone discovered through the 990 that Wesley College pays Barnes and Noble $400,000 to run the bookstore and Aramark Corp. more than a million for food service.

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Has your student newspaper done any investigative reporting? Send us the links to your stories or media and we will spotlight them here!

Sac State students drill down on NCAA report

In April, reporters at the State Hornet at Sacramento State University in California used public records to identify individuals not named in a NCAA report on infractions by the university’s tennis program that put the program on a three-year probation.

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Has your student newspaper done any investigative reporting? Send us the link to your story or media and we’ll spotlight it here!


Western Wash students and faculty battle with administration over public records

Students and journalism professors at Western Washington University take on university’s failure to adhere to Washington Public Records law. In the latest take on what seems to be an ongoing battle with the school’s administration for documents that are clearly public, student Erasmus Baxter (our favorite byline of the year!) details how public information officers have delayed  providing documents and in one case almost totally redacted a document for no defendable reason. Screen Shot 2018-05-31 at 5.10.19 AM