Education Fraud: The Impact on Students and Their Money
Anyone in their twenties likely fell into difficult times when the economy collapsed from under everyone in 2008. The economic recession resulted in many people being unable to get jobs. One of the benefits that arose from this downturn, however, was that many individuals decided to go back to school. A college education can go a long way in this world; but unfortunately, like as is the case in most other areas of life, not everyone is honest. Sadly, this can quickly lead to education fraud.
What is Education Fraud?
Education fraud is a serious problem and can lead to negative consequences for students. Education fraud occurs when a so-called higher learning institution engages in deceptive practices to obtain government funding.
These funds can include grants, loans and scholarships. To get these funds, however, these institutions must convince students to attend their “university,” and this is when deceptive practices begin.
The only thing that’s usually necessary for institutions to get funding from the government is bringing in students. Some deceptive colleges will do this by making promises that they cannot keep.
This can include misleading students on potential internships, the potential for transferring credits and the costs related to financial aid and loan interest rates.
Some of these institutions will even threaten their employees with dismissal if they withdraw students who don’t show up; this is because, as long as a student is enrolled, the university is getting funds from the government.
Effects on Students
Sadly, education fraud doesn’t just affect the government; it also negatively affects students. When students are misled about any of the aforementioned factors, they end up suffering because of it. A student who is in a field where they need hands-on experience, for instance, will not be prepared for their job market if an institution lied to them about potential internships.
Additionally, if a student is misled on how federal government loans work, they may end up in huge amounts of debt that they’re simply unprepared to handle. Some of these “universities,” especially those that are for profit, will even lie about a student’s potential to go on for a Master’s degree after finishing at the school. This can mean years of necessary further education for an individual to even finish a legitimate degree.
Fighting Education Fraud Head On
Students who recognize these types of deceptive practices should immediately report them. Unfortunately, reporting this to the institution will not likely help if it’s the university that’s engaged in the practice. Because of this, a student should speak to a lawyer immediately. Many don’t realize it, but they can actually be rewarded for “blowing the whistle” on these deceptive practices. More information on what whistleblowing is and how an attorney can help can be read online at www.whistleblowersattorneys.com.
The False Claims Act is an American law that rewards “whistleblowers” for reporting instances of fraud against the government. An attorney can file a suit against the institution that’s committing fraud, and the government will sometimes take over the case in order to recoup some of their losses related to the act. The person who reported the fraud, however, is entitled to 15 to 30 percent of whatever the government recovers.
The reward that the government gives is an incentive to have people report fraudulent activities. While all students would likely report the crime simply to have it stopped, an individual who takes the initiative to do so is often handsomely rewarded for their proactive and honest actions. Luckily, even a student who has been defrauded by a dishonest institution can get their life back on track with one of these cash rewards.
Education fraud is a serious offense, and those who commit it deserve to be punished. Far too many students have felt the repercussions of school “officials” who use deceptive tactics in an effort to gain money that they don’t rightfully deserve. Luckily, when students take notice of these misleading maneuvers, they do have a way to stop it. By simply becoming a whistleblower, a student can stop an institution from hurting other students and be rewarded for doing so.
License: Creative Commons
Researcher Lisa Coleman shares what education fraud is and the negative impact that this kind of fraud has on a college student. She recently researched online at www.whistleblowersattorneys.com how the law firm of Goldberg Kohn LTD was equipped to counsel and protect a client about their rights when they have been witness or victim to education fraud.