I was frustrated to read this article at the College Fix.
The California Community Colleges system is being overwhelmed by thousands of fake students, or “bots,” applying and enrolling in classes to scam money from financial aid.
Kim Rich, a criminal justice professor at Pierce College, first noticed the issue during the summer semester in June 2021, when she discovered multiple “students” in her online class exhibiting suspicious behavior: submitting work done by someone outside the class, registering for the same courses, and using profile photos pulled from the internet.
Since then, Rich says she has experienced “roadblock after roadblock” in bringing the issue to the administration’s attention. The district seems not to care, even though, as she previously told The Epoch Times, Rich believes between one-third to one-half of enrolled students could be fake.
. . .
Rich’s guesses are confirmed by official numbers from the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office, which determined that approximately 20 percent of the traffic for the systemwide student application system, CCCApply, is “malicious and bot-related.”
On August 30, the Chancellor’s Office issued an update requiring colleges within the CCC system to report monthly metrics on registration and financial fraud starting September.
. . .
While Rich said she suspects the issue started in the spring, Joe Moreau, vice chancellor of technology for the Foothill-DeAnza Community College District, said he believes it began as early as Fall of 2020.
“Our district has been tracking potential fraud for quite a long time, almost a year now,” he told The College Fix in a telephone interview. “We began to see suspicious activity last fall. And then we really began to hone in on it starting in about January.”
There’s more at the link.
I’m not surprised, particularly because this seems to affect online classes in particular – in other words, those where no student has to be physically present with the lecturer, so their claims about themselves can’t be verified in person. It’s like California’s COVID-19 relief payments, or its unemployment benefits. Both programs have lost literally billions of dollars due to fraud, lax administration, and computer systems designed to streamline applications, but ignore basic safeguards and don’t get enough information to confirm the authenticity and credibility of those applying.
(I’ll be very surprised if this sort of thing is limited only to California’s community colleges. I’ll lay long odds that you’ll find something similar in the University of California system – perhaps even in some high schools, where the number of pupils is so great that the administration can’t keep up with them. I’d also like to know how widespread the problem may be in the USA as a whole. I’d say California may be the worst affected, but I won’t be surprised to hear many other states are as well.)
California taxpayers should be up in arms about this, but the silence from them is deafening. Why is it that they allow their politicians and bureaucrats to get away with allowing such fraud, at their expense? Can anyone explain, please? Here in Texas, the explosion of anger from taxpayers if they learned about such fraud would probably be enough to sweep from office all those responsible. Why not in California?