4 Steps to Prevent Student Admissions Fraud

By: Tonya Mead, CFE, PI, MBA,MA Educational Psychology
  1. Recognize the existence of student admissions fraud
In 2014, twenty million students under and over 25 years of age were enrolled in U.S. colleges and universities. At the same time, international student enrollment rose 8% to reach 900,000 students, according to the Institute of International Education. By 2015, a 10% increase of 975,000   was experienced. Competition for admission has become fierce as elite colleges and universities reportedly reject up to 95% of their applicants. Recent allegations of student admissions and applications fraud can be found here: application fraud and top five admissions scandals.
  1. Raise admissions staff awareness of threat through training or outsourcing
Raise institutional awareness for the risk of admissions and application fraud by training admissions counselors to spot false documents, falsified signatures, evidence of changed academic grades or scores, discrepant dates of attendance, and diploma mills lacking authenticity. If it is not possible to verify foreign academic records and institutions, outsource transcript verification services to an outside firm.
  1. Recognize the Red Flags and symptoms of fraud
Fraud is detected by identifying anomalies. For instance, if a student wrote a grammatically correct essay in the English language but scored deficient on the TOEFL, fraud could be suspect. The likelihood of identifying applicant inconsistencies are increased with ‘in person’ or ‘Skype’ interview requirements. For further reading, a white paper presented at the NASFSA Conference in 2011 is an excellent resource for detecting false information. In case the white paper is too laborious for you to read, I’ve created a cheat sheet, on the Red Flags of Fraud in Education, see here.
  1. Advertise admissions fraud could lead to revocation of student visa
While it is rare, once admissions and residency fraud are detected; students disciplined for fraudulently entering the U.S to attend U.S. colleges and universities can be turned over to the federal government for prosecution.  The consequence should lead to permanent inadmissibility to the United States according to the Immigration Nationality Act of 1965. Related fraud articles Tonya J. Mead, CFE, PI, MBA, MA, Certified K-12 Administrator and School Psychologist is author of Fraud in Education: Beyond the Wrong Answer and president of Shared Knowledge, LLC https://ishareknowledge.com