If you think it’s not hot enough and you want your blood to boil, keep reading. This week’s collection of our top stories focuses on the scammers of the education world. They’re bribing admissions officials, using their financial privilege to take advantage of a law for students with disabilities and exploiting a legal loophole to get financial aid they’re too wealthy to qualify for.
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Scamming for financial aid
A ProPublica Illinois investigation found that some families in at least five counties gave up legal guardianship of their children to take advantage of college financial aid designed to help low-income students. “The guardianship status then allows the students to declare themselves financially independent of their families so they can qualify for federal, state and university aid,” the story states. None of the families contacted would address their use of this legal loophole on the record.
Scamming for more test time
Parents are taking advantage of a law that’s meant to help students with disabilities. They’re spending thousands of dollars on private psychological evaluations to make sure their kids qualify for more time on tests, so that their grades don’t slip or so they can stay in advanced classes.
“From Weston, Conn., to Mercer Island, Wash., word has spread on parenting message boards and in the stands at home games: A federal disability designation known as a 504 plan can help struggling students improve their grades and test scores. But the plans are not doled out equitably across the United States,” The New York Times reports. In Mercer Island, the Times found, 14% of students had “a federal disability designation that can help improve their grades” — six times the rate of Federal Way.
For Ed Lab’s coverage of this issue, click here.
Scamming for admissions
Vanity Fair has the juicy backstory and aftermath of Operation Varsity Blues, the sprawling college admissions scandal that swept up 50 people, including a few very famous actors. A Los Angeles parent in the Brentwood neighborhood told the magazine that Rick Singer, the alleged bribery scheme mastermind who pleaded guilty to such counts as tax evasion and money laundering, became “the guy who everybody wants as a nutritionist, or everybody want to do Pilates with.” Except it was for college admissions.