Biden Admin to Send Undercover Agents Posing as Students to Colleges and Universities

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The Biden administration will disguise agents as students to catch colleges and universities that are misleading students, according to the announcement, the Department of Education announced on Tuesday.

The Enforcement Office of Federal Student Aid will use “secret shoppers” to ensure that higher education institutions are complying with federal laws regarding financial aid, recruitment and enrollment and that they are not misleading or preying on students, the announcement reads.

The agents, posed as students at the institutions, will identify any “misrepresentations” in several aspects that colleges and universities advertise to recruit and retain students including “transferability of credits, job placement rates, completion and withdrawal rates, graduates’ future earning potential, career services, the cost of attendance, the amount of federal student aid, and accreditation status.”

“Secret shopping is another tool in FSA’s toolbox as we expand our oversight work to hold predatory schools accountable,” FSA Chief Operating Officer Richard Cordray said in the announcement. “Our focus — as always — is to ensure that students, borrowers, families, and taxpayers are not being preyed upon to make a quick buck.”

Colleges and universities that “treat current and prospective students fairly and act lawfully have nothing to fear from secret shopping,” according to Kristen Donoghue, FSA’s chief enforcement officer.

Schools that mislead students are “on notice” that the department may be aware and “they should clean up accordingly.”

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