Colleges manipulating documents to make student appear eligible for financial aid.
To qualify students for financial aid, colleges need to ensure that students are eligible for enrollment and capable of maintaining a certain level of academic performance. Unfortunately, in their quest to collect as many federal financial aid dollars as possible, some for-profit schools have allegedly tampered with documents to demonstrate that students are eligible for aid when they are not.
Employees at such institutions who witness such fraud can file whistleblower lawsuits to help the government recoup federal monies paid to colleges that commit such fraud.
Examples of for-profit colleges tampering with qualifications results include the following:
In a lawsuit against ITT Education Services, Inc., filed in an Indiana federal court in 2010, a former director of the for-profit college’s Lathrop, California campus alleges that he observed fraudulent qualification tampering that allowed unqualified students to enroll at the school and receive federal financial aid.
The allegations include: staff changing failing scores to passing scores on placement tests; inflating and altering attendance and grades; and destroying files required by federal law. In a former action against the for-profit college, the school paid $725,000 to settle a probe by the California Attorney General’s Office into its calculation of grade point averages.
Kaplan Career Institute has also been sued for falsifying grades and attendance records. Two whistleblowers, a former instructor and former director of career services, have filed a lawsuit under the federal False Claims Act accusing the school of pressuring instructors to falsify grades in order to fraudulently obtain federal student aid.
They have sued on behalf of the government for the return of millions in fraudulently obtained student aid, and if the suit is successful, they will share in that recovery.
For-profit colleges have a financial incentive to maximize federal financial aid.
Financial aid for college students has allowed generations of students to attend college when they otherwise would not be able to. Federal student aid has also become the lifeline for many for-profit colleges, tempting them to commit fraud that costs the taxpayers money and places a significant drain on the system.
How Waters Kraus Paul & Siegel can help whistleblowers
With a national presence and in-depth experience fighting fraud against the government, Waters Kraus Paul & Siegel, LLP, provides aggressive representation of whistleblowers in qui tam actions and related complaints. The firm currently represents whistleblowers seeking to recover funds on behalf of the federal and state governments in a variety of cases, which may involve defendants such as large pharmaceutical companies, government contractors, school district contractors, and hospice and nursing home care providers.
To learn more about qui tam representation at Waters Kraus Paul & Siegel, or to have one of our attorneys review your potential case, email us or call 800.226.9880.