Admissions Fraud Scheme Costs Taxpayers

A test administrator and admissions representative in Baltimore plead guilty for defrauding the US government by repeatedly manipulating students’ scores on tests required for obtaining federal financial aid.

The 55-year old exam proctor who was responsible for collecting, sealing and posting the student’s answering sheets to the assessment office, agreed to admission representatives’ pledge to leave the envelops unsealed so that the tests were altered and students would pass the Ability to Benefit (ATB) test.

This test was a prerequisite for students who did not have a high school diploma and wished to study at a trade school and receive a grant or student loan through a federal student aid program.

The proctoring administrator worked for a firm that offered corporations and educational institutions various cognitive test services. She was a certified school proctor, responsible for collecting and sending the students’ papers to her company’s headquarters in Illinois for evaluation. According to her plea, she was approached my three different admissions representatives and asked to leave the answering sheets envelop open so that they could correct the student’s wrong answers and help them pass the ATB test. The admission representative that also pleaded guilty in court for his participation in the financial aid fraud scandal, was actually receiving commissions and bonuses for each student successfully passing the ATB test.

In about two years, the school proctor helped change the scores of about 170 students — most of which were taking the ATB test for the second time. In total, approximately 100 students successfully passed the ATB test and enrolled in the All-state trade school. No less than 72 students were fully eligible for financial aid offered by the state. This financial aid program fraud has cost the government over $570,000.

Is it possible that there are similar schemes taking place in other parts of the country? If the estimated sum of financial aid in this incident was over a half a million dollars is it possible that there are millions of dollars in fraudulent financial aid being distributed each year?