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Simply catching a student cheating in an online test, while a worthy goal for academic honesty, will not meet the guidelines and will not reduce financial aid fraud overall.

Institutions need to understand the risk; in the virtual world, one can be many. If a low-tuition institution such as a community college is targeted for this kind of fraud, where one person fraudulently acts while many students maximize their financial aid, the potential loss is significant. Title IV of the Higher Education Act Programs, “Additional Safeguards Are Needed to Help Mitigate the Risks That Are Unique to the Distance Education Environment,” Final Audit Report ED-OIG/A07L0001, February 2014 I’m no tech or security expert, so what I’m suggesting may not be possible, but I wonder if institutions couldn’t create a system or process that could simultaneously deal with both academic integrity and financial fraud.

Identification does have some validation for the initial process, but is not itself a validation process.

Identity is established for official interaction with the institution.

There is more confusion being created as some suggest that authenticating for a test taken online meets the requirement.

The requirement is more far-reaching than one item, or academic integrity.

There is a great deal of misinformation in this space, and it’s important to note this is not an academic integrity guideline.

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The danger in not understanding the difference is the danger of being out of Title IV compliance.

In the latest audit released in February from the OIG, it’s clearly stated that simply having unique logins and passwords does not meet the guideline for student identification.

Validation may, but the OIG language suggests authentication is the preferred process.

This can be done at a reasonable cost to the student or institution.

The Difference between Academic Integrity and Fraud Prevention The need to introduce authentication measures is not an academic integrity provision, but a fraud prevention requirement.

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