COD Takes Hard Stance on Fraud Prevention
By Robyn Johnson
College of DuPage officials today announced plans to deal with approximately $2.1 million of past-due tuition and fees that are the result of financial aid fraud and student loss of financial aid due to attendance issues or unsatisfactory academic progress.
"We are working diligently to implement processes that will prevent fraud, encourage payment and move the College toward collection of debt owed," said Tom Glaser, COD Senior Vice President for Administration and Treasurer. "While most of our students operate in good faith, we will take a hard line on other individuals who would take advantage of a system meant to help students receive higher education."
Last fall, the Department of Education's Inspector General issued a report about fraud rings operating through distance education programs with students who receive federal aid. As of August 2011, the IG had 100 open fraud ring investigations, with 49 more being evaluated for investigative merits.
Subsequently, on May 2, 2012, the College of DuPage Finance Office was notified by Chase Bank about suspicious activity related to a specific number of students who were receiving financial aid, were enrolled only in Internet courses, and were not completing classroom work. On May 4, the Inspector General's office confirmed that these students may be part of a ring that has already been identified.
"This information prompted a thorough analysis of all similar cases at COD since the spring 2012 term," Glaser said.
The investigation has resulted in a detected fraud balance at College of DuPage of $354,000 for the past four terms. In the FY 2012 summer term, fraud-based accounts alone comprised 39.3 percent of the College's total accounts receivable balance.
"These numbers are significant, and we are taking strong, college-wide measures to prevent the occurrence of future fraudulent cases on our books," Glaser said.
In addition to implementing a requirement for immediate payment upon registration or enrollment in a deferred plan to secure classes, the College is adopting loss-prevention measures that include:
- Identifying financial aid students only enrolled in Internet classes.
- Determining Internet class student participation through Blackboard login activity.
- Expanding verification requirements for students.
- Delaying funds disbursements until midterm.
- Implementing American Association of Junior College (AAJC) Best Practices as outlined in "Online Courses and Financial Aid" white paper.
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2014 College of DuPage