“assuming every fraudulent application receives $5,000 in aid, the potential total loss comes to $3.1 million”
This has been going on for months, It’s amazing that it’s taking them so long to get a handle on it.
The College Fix reports:
‘Fake students’ financial aid fraud continues in Calif. colleges, potentially costing taxpayers millions
The California Community Colleges system continues to face an unknown amount of application and financial aid fraud as officials work to put in place a variety of solutions to address it, such as updated software programs and new requirements for campuses to better report data to oversight agencies.
The “fake students” financial aid fraud scam is costing taxpayers anywhere from hundreds of thousands of dollars to several million dollars, and one whistleblower professor told The College Fix she recently discovered a new method scammers use to obtain funds illegally.
Kim Rich, a criminal justice professor at Pierce College, told The Fix that over the past few weeks she has discovered a new method scammers are using: duplicating student IDs.
Within a seven-day period from March 8 to March 15, Rich said she found that 620 out of 1,740 newly issued student IDs were duplicates and fake, about 36 percent; assuming every fraudulent application receives $5,000 in aid, the potential total loss comes to $3.1 million.
That’s just one week, at one college, with easily identifiable fake students, she said.
“There are likely hundreds more in that specific time frame, but those were just the easy ones to identify,” Rich said.
Other anomalies in the data also point to significant levels of fraud in the system. In a separate April 28 search of 2,096 new student IDs issued over a 60-hour period, Rich found, in the middle of the spreadsheet, a sequence of 434 IDs where every student name was in alphabetical order.
“I think it would be safe to say those 434 are fake students,” she said.
As The College Fix reported last fall, 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.
More recently, 40 percent of campuses in the system—including all nine within the Los Angeles Community College District—failed to provide information required by the Chancellor’s Office in August 2021 as it looks into the problem, the Los Angeles Times reported in March.
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