America’s online schools have some things to account for. In recent years, an increase in the number of for-profit K–12 schools has coincided with the rise of online education. Meanwhile, funding models that award money for each additional student incentivize for-profit schools to overenroll students in online programs that were once reserved for specialized subsets of students. Although, to date, reported incidents of enrollment fraud have been rare, there are many reasons to think that the problem has gone largely undetected. As education reformers on both sides of the political spectrum continue to push privatization and charter schools, figuring out how to avoid waste and minimize fraud will only become more important. This Note argues that the federal False Claims Act (FCA) is the best short-term option for curbing this kind of enrollment-reporting abuse. By drawing an analogy to health-care fraud, this Note makes the case that prosecutors and individuals can and should use expanded theories of false claiming to hold accountable online charter schools that exaggerate their enrollment.
Erin R. Chapman,
Education Fraud at the Margins: Using the Federal False Claims Act to Curb Enrollment Abuses in Online, For-Profit K-12 Schools,
Mich. L. Rev.
Available at: https://repository.law.umich.edu/mlr/vol116/iss4/3