September 24, 2021

65,000 fake California community college financial aid applications flagged as scam

Officials have detected more than 65,000 fake financial aid applications to California community colleges in what is believed to be a massive attempted financial aid scam.

The Los Angeles Times reports Thursday that the fraudulent applications were filed at most of the system’s 116 campuses on behalf of first-time applicants who were older than 30 and earned less than $40,000. A student aid official detected the applications on a routine check of federal financial aid records while faculty members were flagging unusual surges in class enrollment that they suspected could be driven by fake students or bots.

“We were kind of scratching our heads going, ‘Did or didn’t 60,000 extra older adult students really attempt to apply to community colleges here in the last few months?’” said Patrick Perry, director of policy, research and data for the California Student Aid Commission, who alerted college officials…

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