Research Findings

Survey helps begin conversation on using biometrics to deter financial aid fraud

In May of 2016, the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) stated that it “seek[s] not only to protect Federal student aid funds from waste, fraud, and abuse, but also to protect the interests of the next generation of our nation’s leaders—America’s students.” The DOE also reported a “continuing commitment to promoting accountability, efficiency, and effectiveness” in the same report. (See pages 13 and 1 of the Semiannual Report to Congress, No. 72.)

U.S. DOE audits in 2015 revealed that organizations such as the Higher Learning Commission “did not establish a system of internal control that provided reasonable assurance.” (See page 1 of the Semiannual report to Congress, No. 71.)

The DOE “disburses about $150 billion in student aid annually and manages an outstanding loan portfolio of $1.2 trillion … [making this] one of the largest financial institutions in the country,” according to the 2016 semiannual report to Congress, page 13. In both of these reports, the DOE reports example after example of lack of protection from fraud, waste and abuse. The need for auditors who are Certified Fraud Examiners and strong internal accounting leaders who are Certified Management Accountants is clear.


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