Domestic, Ethics, For-Profit, Institutions, Markets, Opinion, Policy, Private education, Recruitment, Student Loans, University & College - Written by Eleni Glader on Thursday, October 6, 2011 9:08 - 0 Comments
The New York Times editorial on: “Fraud and Online Learning”
The health care and defense industries often took the spotlight in False Claims Act interventions by the Department of Justice. But the for-profit education industry may take the lead in false-claims cases. The Department of Education’s Office of the Inspector General claims it has opened 100 investigations since 2005 and is reviewing 49 complaints. Fraudulent recruitment tactics by for-profit online colleges are generating large revenues from financial aid. The New York Times editorial page published an unsigned staff editorial today titled Fraud and Online Learning. It reveals some of those tactics and hints at the seriousness of this issue. It also shows the paper of record in the U.S. is watching the online learning trends, which is a good thing for transparency and innovation in the future:
Distance-learning students rarely show up on any campus, so their identities can be easily falsified. Fraud rings target community colleges and other open-enrollment schools that offer low-priced, online programs. The fraud rings enroll “straw” students who provide their names, dates of birth and Social Security numbers to obtain federal financial aid. The ring leaders then take a share of the student loan money that schools disburse to students after tuition and other allowable costs are paid.
Fraud rings have succeeded in enrolling prison inmates, even though they are not eligible for federal student aid, as well as “students” who were illiterate.
The inspector general’s office says participants in 42 different fraud rings have been convicted and more than $7.5 million in restitution and fines have been ordered in the past six years. This may be only a small portion of the problem. Some rings involve hundreds of participants, and it is unlikely that either the Office of the Inspector General or the Department of Justice has resources to track down and prosecute them all.
What’s at stake is online higher education – i.e. access to learning beyond the limitations of traditional brick and mortar classrooms. The Times acknowledges the growth and positive side of online learning, especially for non-traditional students… and points out that is the key to clamp down on abuse:
Online college courses have made higher education possible for untold numbers of working adults who cannot enroll in traditional classes and need flexibility to receive instruction at home. But online courses are also particularly vulnerable to student aid fraud, a growing problem that federal officials must move quickly to control.
To improve security, the government needs to put colleges on notice that they are responsible for disbursing aid to eligible students only. It should not allow payments for expenses a student does not actually have. Congress should change student aid to fix this problem.
Leave a Reply
We welcome Tips & Pitches
Latest WA Original Features
The Pulitzer Prize winning investigation newsroom digs into for-profit education.
- Interview: UoPeople Founder Shai Reshef On Edu Tech, Free Tuition & P2P Learning
- Cheating in School— How the Digital Age Affects Attitudes About Plagiarism [Infographic]
- U of Phoenix: Raises tuition, Enrollment drops, Still Making Plenty of Cash
- Guest Column from Hansoo Lee of Magoosh.com: SAT Scores are Falling – Now What?
- Edublog Award Winners For Mobile App, Web Tool, Wiki Tool
MARKET INTRADAY SNAPSHOT
- Education & Tech Companies We Follow
Cost of Education, Domestic, Education Quality, Ethics, For-Profit, Regulatory, Required, Students, University & College - Mar 11, 2012 21:17 - 0 Comments
More In For-Profit
- Heard: MOOCs Growing From Stanford to Georgia Tech to MIT to Udacity and Udemy
- Heard: California Applies Headlock, Begins Clamp Down On For-Profit Colleges
- Heard: Capella University On The Ropes But Planning For A Comeback In Round 4
- Hungry Hippos: For-Profits Gobble Up Half of Military Education Benefits
- Researchers Find Students At For-Profit Colleges More Likely To Be Unemployed
Blended Learning, Domestic, Elementary / Primary / Junior, Flipped Classrooms, High school / Secondary 2, International, Open Source Education, Required, School teachers, Startups, Students, Technology - Mar 12, 2012 19:04 - 0 Comments
More In Technology
- Opinion: Online Tutoring Disrupting Traditional Tutor Model, But Expanding The Tutor Industry
- The “Mathlash”: Mathmeticians Strike Back Against Silicon Valley’s Foray Into Math Edu
- Shantanu Sinha of Khan Academy Explains The Gamification Approach of Khan
- Fast Company Ranks The 10 Most Innovative Education Companies
- Must See: Interactive Tour of the Universe — Online Tool for Teachers and Gawkers
Domestic, Education Quality, For-Profit, Friend, Fraud, or Fishy, Required, University & College - Feb 10, 2012 16:36 - 0 Comments
More In Friend, Fraud, or Fishy
- Infographic & Video: Is America Witnessing A Growing Education Bubble? Part II Of II
- Investigative Opinion: For-Profit Kaplan University’s $250 Million Payout To Former Executives
- Heard: Mitt Romney Takes Money From, Offers Praise To Full Sail University Leaders
- Heard: New York Attorney General Is Investigating Pearson Education – NYTimes.com
- Guest Column: A Response To Occupy Wall Street’s View Of Student Debt