Are the people in charge of your education guilty of private education fraud?
Recent events have brought to light the subject of private education fraud. While the sole purpose of any school is to educate, private schools also want to make money. Those we trust to educate our children may be engaging in fraudulent activities. Schools try to cover up illegal schemes. But, when the truth comes out, it becomes apparent how common fraud is in the private sector.
Education fraud is a hot topic this year. Several well-known schools are currently under investigation for admission fraud including Yale University and Stanford University, along with six others. The Department of Education oversees admission fraud cases. While these cases are still on-going, it has made the public fully aware of how prevalent fraud is in the education system.
Money: The Leading Cause of Fraud
As the saying goes, the love of money is the root of all evil. This is true in the education system. Schools rely on financial support to provide students with the best education possible. Unfortunately, some schools cross the line.
Schools may also mishandle how they report and spend their money. Administrators may lie about how much money the school makes in a year by deducting expenses that don’t exist and hiding funds. This is usually done to avoid paying taxes or to be eligible for additional funding. No matter the reason, this is a form of fraud.
Defrauding the Department of Education
Schools can also defraud the federal government. The government provides loans to many students attending private schools. The money received from these loans goes to fund the school where the student attends. If the school obtains these loans through devious methods, they’re defrauding the government. Taxpayers end up paying the bill for this illegal behavior.
Here are some ways a school may illegally obtain funds from federal loans:
- Providing false information – to meet the conditions of a federal loan, a school may lie about certain aspects of their organization.
- Failing to return funds – if a student withdraws, the school may withhold this information to avoid repaying any federal funds.
- Illegally recruiting students – the school may provide an illegal incentive to a headhunter who can recruit the most students.
- Lying about graduation and job placement – schools must provide accurate reports regarding their graduation and job placement rates. Falsifying this information is illegal.
- Covering up academic eligibility – the school may lie about a student’s academic history to continue receiving funding.
- Filling out loan applications without consent – it’s illegal for a school to fill out a federal loan application without informing the student.
This type of fraud usually begins at the top, and it requires the knowledge of many individuals to work. It’s often surprising to see how many people willingly participate in education fraud once a case becomes known to the public.
The Impact of Private School Education Fraud
While many people seem to think that private school education fraud only affects those who attend a specific school, they are wrong. Since this money often comes from the federal government, it’s really the taxpayers who lose. Unfortunately, schools go to great lengths to cover up this type of fraud. For this reason, many school administrators get away with participating in illegal activities.
The Department of Education investigates any reports of fraudulent activity. But, to begin an investigation, they need to know where to look. In many instances, they receive a tip from a local whistleblower. The department maintains a hotline for tips. They also provide outreach to help others understand how to identify education fraud. Anyone who has information about school fraud should consider informing the proper authorities.
What to Do if You Know About Fraud in Schools
It’s impossible to prosecute educational facilities if no one speaks out. Those involved keep their lips sealed. That’s why the Department of Education relies so heavily on the testimony of whistleblowers. It takes a lot of courage to come forward, but it’s always the right thing to do. When the case settles, you may also receive compensation for your efforts. Most whistleblowers can expect to receive 15-30 percent of the recovered money.
Before you tell your secret, find a lawyer who handles these types of cases. Retaliation is real, and you need to know your rights as a whistleblower. You need someone who knows how to keep you protected during the process. Find out more about private education fraud by contacting Bothwell Law Group online.