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The government spends billions of dollars each year in public education. Although education fraud can occur in virtually every context, many successful qui tam suits have been brought in the areas of higher education and grants.
Many colleges and universities receive funds through the federal student aid program. In order to be eligible to receive student aid funding, institutions must meet certain criteria, which, for example, prohibits incentive-based compensation for recruiters, and includes requirements that at least 10 percent of the school’s revenues come from sources other than federal student aid. Failing to follow these criteria can form the basis of a qui tam lawsuit. Fraud can also occur when educational institutions submit tuition to multiple government agencies for reimbursement (i.e. double-billing).
It is against the law for educational institutions to bill the government for research costs they do not incur or to use incorrect information when applying for grants. Fraudulent grant claims may include misrepresenting program details, failure to disclose all funding sources, falsifying application information, and over-charging for time, costs and other expenses associated with the use of the grant, overstating success of research to qualify for more funding, or misusing the grant money for personal expenses or other projects.
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