|Catching fraudsters. Is the answer to give up your freedom to privacy via international databases?|
Fraudsters have jumped in the education reform money making machine on the international level. From InsideHigherEd and Catch Them If You Can:
DUBLIN, Ireland -- Fraud in international higher education is a $1.5 billion to $2.5 billion business, an expert said Thursday here at the European Association for International Education annual conference.
Daniel J. Guhr, managing director for Illuminate Consulting Group, which advises governments, universities and foundations on higher education strategy, stressed that the estimate is necessarily imprecise: “Really good fraud is not visible.” But he said that the consulting group’s research does show that fraud is a pervasive problem.
Guhr provided an overview of the problem of fraud in international education. He defined fraud broadly, situating various forms of it on a spectrum of severity -- from résumé embellishment, on the low end, to full-scale identity fraud on the high end. In between, Guhr listed fake letters of recommendation (“We tell all our clients to forget letters of reference -- they’re completely useless”), plagiarism, purchased test scores (“I’m very, very worried about the validity of English language test scores coming out of certain Asian countries,” Guhr said, later citing China and Vietnam in particular), purchased transcripts, purchased degrees, fake immigration records (such as passports), and bribery of immigration officials.
Guhr said that the key driver of fraud is economic benefit -- not only to the offending student and family, but to other stakeholders as well, colleges included. Increasingly, college leaders view international students as an important source of tuition revenue. The more, the merrier.