How to stop cheating and grant fraud

Biometrics outshine PIN & passwords for verification of online enrollment and test-taking while reducing financial aid fraud

cheating-grant-fraudAs of 2008, the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act mandates that universities and colleges in the U.S. instill a process to verify the identity of online students.

But with the failure of ordinary PIN-and-password security measures to completely prevent student cheating and even student-grant fraud, the academic world stands waiting for the other shoe to drop. Additional safeguards will soon be required, if not already called for by local accrediting agencies.

In response, some early-adopting chancellors, administrators, and CEOs have already pegged bio-signature authentication systems as a turnkey approach to providing greater accuracy in student verification. Given the additional advantages that such systems: reside “in the cloud” outside of the college or university‘s business system; require absolutely no additional hardware; entail no extra expense by students; and allow for the monitoring of fraudulent financial activity, this subset of gesture verification is emerging as the valedictorian of second-level ID verification.

“We have utilized signature biometrics for nearly three years with over 10,000 student users, and it has exceeded our expectations,” says Dr. Mark Sarver, CEO of eduKan—a consortium of community colleges offering online courses and degrees regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. “It provides an identity-proofing solution that is transparent to our students while respecting their privacy, is available anytime, and stays cost-effective for the institution.”

In addressing the accelerated concern that individuals of unknown identity can sit in for someone else on a final exam, collaborate with others to earn a degree or illegally collect financial aid, providers of online courses now require a solution that goes beyond PIN and password checking.

“We used to rely on your basic password ID system,” says Dr. Dana L. Watson, Deputy Chancellor, Academic and Student Services with Central Texas College (CTC)—a public, open-admission community college serving over 50,000 students on military installations, in correctional facilities, in embassies and on ships at sea. “The problem is that passwords can be easily shared.”

(Next page: New identification-checking applications for optimum privacy)

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