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Education

Submission + - Online schools vulnerable to Financial Aid fraud (chronicle.com)

Math.sqrt(-1) writes: Math.sqrt(-1) writes "Verification of student identity in online courses is a major challenge for many colleges and universities. In Arizona, Trenda Halton was able to defraud the federal government of over half a million dollars in financial aid. Halton involved dozens of people who she recruited at "straw" students. Using data collected from her accomplices, Halton would submit admission and financial aid information to Rio Salado College and the U.S. Dept of Education. Then she'd log in to the online courses as the fake student so that the college would see that she had "participated" in class. The college would then process the financial aid request, deduct college expenses and send the remaining balance to the straw students, who would in turn, fork over a chunk to Halton..

This isn't new, and it's not unique. The Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 requires schools to provide some means of verifying the identity of online students, but the bill failed to disclose what methods are to be used for said verification. As such, many schools have little or no identity verification procedures in place and a more susceptible to fraud that we'd like to believe."

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