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California Community Colleges System Overwhelmed by ‘Fake Students’ Applying for Financial Aid

California Community Colleges System Overwhelmed by ‘Fake Students’ Applying for Financial Aid

“submitting work done by someone outside the class, registering for the same courses, and using profile photos pulled from the internet”

Online scammers will expose any perceived weakness. How is this going to be stopped?

The College Fix reports:

Thousands of ‘fake students’ enrolled in California community colleges seeking financial aid

The California Community Colleges system is being overwhelmed by thousands of fake students, or “bots,” applying and enrolling in classes to scam money from financial aid.

Kim Rich, a criminal justice professor at Pierce College, first noticed the issue during the summer semester in June 2021, when she discovered multiple “students” in her online class exhibiting suspicious behavior: submitting work done by someone outside the class, registering for the same courses, and using profile photos pulled from the internet.

Since then, Rich says she has experienced “roadblock after roadblock” in bringing the issue to the administration’s attention. The district seems not to care, even though, as she previously told The Epoch Times, Rich believes between one-third to one-half of enrolled students could be fake.

She came to these numbers by surveying hundreds of class rosters, both from her own college and other schools in the system.

“In some classes, 95 percent of the students I believed were fake. In other classes, it might have only been 5 percent,” Rich said in an interview with The College Fix. “The point of it was there are a lot of them there. It’s a huge hit, enrollment-wise, if you were to remove those students.”

Rich’s guesses are confirmed by official numbers from the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office, which determined that approximately 20 percent of the traffic for the systemwide student application system, CCCApply, is “malicious and bot-related.”

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Comments

Antifundamentalist | November 27, 2021 at 1:50 pm

Administration doesn’t care because it’s their bottom line. Financial Aid is “free money” for them. Wouldn’t surprise me to find that admin is in on some of it. The only way to stop it is for Federal Aid applications to require that applicants appear in person and present valid ID and SSN or Student Visas that are then verified by both college and government before the first check is issue. Or just stop Financial Aid for anyone who hasn’t served 4 years in the US Military.

“Online scammers will expose any perceived weakness. How is this going to be stopped?”

Not in California, I’ll tell you that up front. They’ll probably encourage it. Spend taxpayer money to run ads in Mexico and the DR.

Rich says she has experienced “roadblock after roadblock” in bringing the issue to the administration’s attention

Of course she has. It isn’t their money, so they don’t care if it gets wasted. In fact, wasted money is a bonus, as the more fake students there are the the larger the institution’s budget and salaries for themselves. Aside from official remuneration, which has (very soft) limits, I am convinced the fake students permit substantial embezzlement by administration, not that California will ever investigate, as there’s a bunch of money that isn’t needed to serve students.

This is like ignoring shoplifting so long as it’s mostly one person doing a quick grab. Before long it’s 2 or 3, and then it’s dozens arriving at a mall, big-box or upscale jewelry store complete with tools for breaking/entering, and a tightly scripted execution plan. If not halted eventually the stores will vacate and not be replaced, and will we then get a massive government plan to provision everyone now that one can no longer just go to a store and buy it?

When financial aid for non-students overwhelms to the point where real students can’t get aid for which they qualify, will they just shut down the colleges claiming they need more resources?

The root cause is not exactly hidden: these progressions happen because utopians are convinced few people would do these things, even if all risk of adverse consequences has been removed. And when they do and the colleges or stores can’t/don’t function, well, no reason to go back, fix the theories, and restore things: that would be to admit error and defeat. Better to just move-on, move-on to some grand scheme to replace what got broken.

“The root cause is not exactly hidden:”
That’s the charitable explanation.
The other one is Cloward-Piven.

I hope all these fake students are taking the required fake courses in “Social Justice.”

    MajorWood in reply to OldProf2. | November 27, 2021 at 7:32 pm

    That is how they discovered the scam. No real students would sign up for them and pay with “their”money

    FWIW, the comedy TV show “Community” was on to these scams a decade ago in the episode “Conspiracy Theories and Interior Design.”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conspiracy_Theories_and_Interior_Design

    FWIW, it is a brilliantly written show which is probably too spot-on to be made these days.

    I just realized that they also touched on “prop guns” here as well.

The Department of Education regulations implementing Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 sets strict standards for federally funded financial aid. I bet the Community Colleges will be audited and found to have violated the regulations, which include a potential penalty of being banned from processing such aid in the future. (This has been the kiss of death for a number of proprietary schools that violated Title IV.) I bet the men controlling the student-bots are probably violating 18 U.S.C. 1001.

Any bets on when indictments will be handed down?

This reminds me of the “University of Redwood” scam. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/reed-website-plagiarized_n_829393
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/University_of_Redwood
A scammer in China cloned the Reed College website and encouraged Chinese students seeking admission to US colleges to apply there. The scammer pocketed the on-line application fees submitted on the fake website. The University of Redwood never existed, and Reed College fought the blatant copyright infringement.