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How to Prevent Address Fraud in your Schools

One of the challenges that public schools face is ensuring that all enrolled students are registered with legitimate addresses. It has become increasingly common for parents to enroll their children in a school out of district with fake addresses. This might mean that parents are using a family member’s home address, information from an old home that’s within the district or an entirely falsified address.

Districts are noticing this problem within their schools and are cracking down on the issue, enforcing strict policies that include fees for families that get caught enrolling students with inaccurate addresses. After all, educating students who are illegally registered takes seats and funding away from students who live within the district. However, a lot of schools that use paper-based enrollment processes are having trouble confirming accurate addresses. This is why many schools are going digital with online solutions like SRC Solution’s Address Purification Gateway, which automates a process of confirming legitimate student addresses.

If you’ve been debating whether to invest in a digital solution to assist your staff with identifying falsified addresses, here are the answers to the questions you’ve been asking.

How much does address fraud really cost schools?
Address fraud that occurs for a long period of time without interference can end up costing schools millions of dollars. A report by nonprofit organizations Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools and the Center for Popular Democracy found that fraud has cost U.S. charter schools over $200 million in recent years. According to the Washington Post, the 2015 report includes over $44 million from cases that happened before 2014, the 2014 total and the $23 million in new cases of fraud that have occurred since 2014.

The Washington Post also noted that while these figures only represent the money lost in the charter school sector, which educates around 5 percent of the students enrolled in public schools, the total loss for all schools due to address fraud throughout the U.S. in 2015 was about $1.4 billion. A large part of these wasted expenses include the estimated $2,500 spent on printing and mailing of student forms to incorrect addresses.

Ensure your schools are able to put funds toward student programs by preventing costly address fraud.

What are schools doing about the issue?
Officials from Chicago Public Schools have recently discovered several cases of address fraud in 11 of its highly-selective schools, explained Chicago news source DNAinfo. As a result, the district is sending a message to families that this illegal activity won’t be tolerated, charging families with out-of-district tuition fees that they believe to be the fair equivalent of the time and money they would have owed if enrolled correctly. For example, a student attended Payton High School for four years enrolled with a fake apartment address. Once this was discovered, the family was charged with a $45,000 non-resident tuition bill for the four years he attended. They’ve also implemented a life-time ban from all 11 schools for those caught.

“Fraud not only undermines confidence in the school system, it robs a deserving student of an important educational opportunity. With a lifetime ban, we are sending a strong message to parents that this fraud will no longer be tolerated and that consequences cannot be avoided.”

Forrest Claypool, CPS chief executive officer said in a press release, as quoted by DNAinfo.

Address fraud isn’t a problem limited to U.S. school districts. The Black Country and Staffordshire school districts in the U.K. recently reported finding 39 cases of address fraud over the past three years, according to the Express and Star. These students were removed from the school and residential students took their places.

What can you do to protect your schools?
Instead of hiring more staff members to closely monitor all of the new and existing student addresses, invest in an online solution that tracks student moves, performs an address analysis and validates data for you to catch any out-of-date addresses that would be hard to identify when assessing paper documents. Aside from lost time, man power and thousands in funding, address fraud also causes damage to schools’ reputations, which may encourage other families to enroll students with faulty information.

“If a district was to gain a reputation of not being particularly vigilant, there might be an invitation to other parents [living outside the district] to go ahead and bring your child in,” Jay Worona, general counsel to the New York State School Boards Association, told U.S. News and World Report.

The Address Purification Gateway will bring a high return on investment by cutting down on printing and mailing costs and saving funding for legally registered students. Don’t risk your district’s reputation by allowing address fraud to occur in your schools. Monitor both new and existing addresses with the Address Purification Gateway.

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How digitizing student records generates high ROI

Going paperless and digitizing your school solutions will help your district save money in a number of ways, from reducing paper costs to enhancing staff productivity. With online solutions, your school district gets the most out of its funding for staff salaries. Your employees will have more time to focus on important tasks and spend less of their work days on tedious paper-based administrative processes.

Here are few ways your school’s return on investment will increase when you go paperless with online school software:

1. No more expensive paper costs
According to Edutopia, schools that eliminate paper-based processes can save up to $250,000 per year on printing and mailing supplies alone. Another factor to keep in mind is that leasing a high-quality printer can cost over $30,000 per year. If a smaller-sized school was to rely less on paper, printing and mailing to complete enrollment, scheduling and file sharing, it could save as much as $80,000 each year.

Digitizing your student records with a solution like SRC Solution’s Registration Gateway is a simple process, as all of the data will automatically be integrated into your existing student information systems.

2. Make the most of your team’s time
The average human data entry error rate is about 1 percent, according to recent research. This is an issue for many office environments, as 65 percent of U.S. organizations cite human error as the main cause of data problems. Automating processes such as enrollment, sending mail to parents’ addresses, and updating student documents reduces the likelihood of these common input errors. There’s no need to physically do tasks like transferring data from paper to online forms, a process that tends to open up more room for costly data entry errors. A lot of time and money is spent going through files to fix these mistakes.

Digitizing student records reduces the number of time-consuming paper-based tasks your staff must handle on a daily basis.Digitizing student records reduces the number of time-consuming paper-based tasks your staff must handle on a daily basis.

By automating workflows with features like online document sharing, you reduce the time usually dedicated to mailing student forms and allow the current employees to handle all of the school’s responsibilities rather than hire additional staff.

3. Increased compliance
With features like enhanced data and document permissions, digital solutions mitigate your schools’ risk of fines and penalties that result from failing to adhere to federal compliance standards like FERPA and NCLB. In fact, the Center on Education Policy reported that an estimated 48 percent of U.S. public schools did not make AYP (adequate yearly progress) as a part of NCLB in 2011. When schools fail to comply to NCLB and other federal standards, they put themselves at risk of losing government funding.

4. Eliminate costly address fraud
Throughout the U.S., many rural school districts have fraudulent addresses linked to up to 10 percent of their student populations. This ends up costing schools millions. For example, Fraud magazine explained that if only 1 percent of the 350,000 charter school students in the Washington D.C. district are illegally enrolled, unecessary costs could reach more than $5 million a year. Online solutions like the Address Purification Gateway automatically identify fraudulent addresses, saving schools millions.

How paperless solutions can help fix common problems within the US education system

Schools throughout the U.S. education system face common challenges that interfere with the quality of student learning. Online systems designed to enhance tasks like conference scheduling and organizing student cumulative folders can help schools reduce the impact of these issues. Here are two obstacles that paperless solutions can help schools overcome:

Poor parent involvement 
According to the Center for Public Education, research has shown that an estimated two-thirds of teachers believe their students would do better academically if their parents were more involved in their children’s education. Meanwhile, 72 percent of parents agreed that students with uninvolved parents were far more likely to “fall through the cracks” in school, as students with more attentive parents often receive the most attention from teachers.

Students whose parents are more involved in their education do better academically. Students whose parents are more involved in their education often do better academically.

School solutions can enhance parent involvement by making important student documents digitally accessible. Systems like SRC Solution’s Central Records Gateway offer parent-sharing features so they can log in from home and have updated documents like progress reports and behavioral assessments at their fingertips.

Automated conference scheduling systems, such as SRC Solution’s Conference Gateway, also increase parent participation in parent-teacher meetings, enabling parents to conveniently select an open meeting time online. This encourages parents to attend parent-teacher conferences, as it allows them to work around their own schedule and more efficiently plan ahead. They can also note specific questions or topics they want to discuss at the meeting so that the staff can better prepare beforehand and truly personalize and improve the quality of their parent-teacher relationships. This is important, as the National Education Association explained that only 48 percent of parents feel teachers hold efficient conferences, so detailing discussion points ahead of time can drastically improve the outcomes of meetings.

Lack of funding 
The Atlantic noted that recent reports have shown schools across the U.S. are expected to do more for their students with increasingly less government funding as the years go on. This has put a lot of pressure on schools to reserve the money they do have for important student programs and other essential needs. Going paperless can assist districts in cutting back on yearly expenses. According to Aiim Community, most organizations that do away with paper-based workflows save over $500 per person each year in supplies like ink, paper and printers.

Address fraud is another common issue experienced by K-12 districts that ends up taking key funding away from schools. If it goes unnoticed, address fraud can cost schools millions each year. For example, The Hechinger Report explained that schools in Beverly Hills, California – which deal with at least one case of registration fraud each month – are charging parents with $150 for every day that their child was enrolled illegally in their schools, as they believe this is a fair equivalent of the funding they lost as a result. SRC Solution’s Address Purification Gateway automates the process of identifying falsified addresses to ensure your district’s money is spent properly and residential students are receiving the education they deserve.

Glastonbury School District Utilizes Registration Gateway to assist in Identifying Out of District Students

Copyright © 2014, Hartford Courant

By Peter Marteka

During the 2013-14 school year, officials investigated 243 of 677 students who registered GLASTONBURY — As a former Glastonbury police officer, Keith O’Brien knows the importance of a stakeout.

As the school system’s residency, emergency planning and security coordinator, he uses that experience when he’s investigating the residency of newly registered students. Some of those stakeouts in the 2013-14 school year led to the discovery that 61 students who were enrolled in the town’s nine schools or the regional magnet school did not live in town.

“Sometimes it takes five to 10 days of sitting there to establish whether they are living there or not,” he said. O’Brien said he has investigated 243 of the 677 new students who registered in the school district in the past school year.

“Ten days is a pretty good standard. If I do 10 days and they are not there, it gives me a little more [ammunition] because they can always say, ‘Well, I wasn’t home for a couple days.’ I can come back with, ‘Well, I’ve been here for 10 days.’ We can usually catch them not telling all the truth,” O’Brien said.

The town currently does not involve law enforcement in the cases in which a student is found to be a resident of another town; it simply asks that the student withdraw from local schools.

At an annual per-pupil cost of $13,000 in Glastonbury, the costs of educating those 61 nonresident students could have been $793,000. The residency investigations are done throughout the school year, so the actual length of attendance and total cost can vary.

Board of education member Douglas C. Foyle applauded O’Brien’s efforts, adding that the 61 students “are appropriately going somewhere else.”

“At the very least it is three classrooms, or $13,000 per student,” he said. “You can get up to $1 million real quickly. I always come at it from the perspective of someone who is working and sacrificing to live in Glastonbury and paying taxes. This honors their sacrifice by saying there’s not someone here taking part in the education and not paying taxes and living here.”

Superintendent Alan B. Bookman said that the non-resident students came from neighboring and area towns and cities including East Hartford, Hartford, Manchester, East Hampton, Wethersfield, West Hartford and South Windsor. He said that in many cases, families moved out of town, but parents wanted students to continue in Glastonbury schools. Students who were asked to leave the school were registered in grades kindergarten through Grade 12

Bookman said the town’s residency rules require students to live in town. The lone exception, he said, is if a student is a senior and his or her family moves out of town. That student would be allowed to finish the senior year, he said.

“I think it’s fair,” Bookman said. “We are following all the rules of the state. We want to be fair to the students and fair to everybody.”

Bookman said he does the initial legwork into student registrations, but if there are questions, O’Brien is called in to investigate. In the 2012-13 school year, of the 633 newly registered students, officials determined that 48 did not belong in local schools; in 2011-12, that number was 49 of 667; and in 2010-11, 42 students of 592 new registrants were determined not to be residents.

O’Brien said that a new streamlined, centralized online registration process has allowed him to verify residency in a “more timely fashion.” Parents and guardians may register students online and then go to the board of education offices to provide the necessary documentation, instead of going to the individual schools. He said that many registrations were verified online or by confirming leases with landlords.

O’Brien said that many of the 243 residency verifications in the 2013-14 school year required home visits, with many turning into lengthy investigations.

“They were cases that just didn’t feel right,” he said.

Copyright © 2014, Hartford Courant

About SRC Solutions, Inc.

SRC Solutions, Inc. provides school districts a mechanism for positive process change. SRC Solutions, Inc. offers a suite of “Gateway” applications each designed to tackle obstacles standing in the way of the educational process.

SRC Solutions, Inc. and GuideK12™ Announce Strategic Technology Alliance

Embracing customer feedback, SRC Solutions, Inc enhances the Registration Gateway Online Enrollment solution by integrating award winning GuideK12 geo-location technology to improve student enrollment and district boundary policy adherence.

SRC Solutions, Inc., creators of the Registration Gateway Online Enrollment solution, announces a major feature addition that will further simplify and automate student registration.  By integrating GuideK12™‘s geo-visual location technology, school selection becomes even simpler for parents.

Parents registering their students will now be able to enter an address to quickly determine their assigned school and visualize the school’s details in relation to their home on a map.

Registration Gateway already simplifies and automates what can be a time consuming, paper-heavy process and makes it more affordable and efficient.  The addition of GuideK12™ improves the experience for the users and provides more information allowing them to make better decisions.

“We are very excited about our new relationship with GuideK12™. At SRC, we continually strive to provide enhancements to simplify registration and to enable actionable data,” said Patrick Maher, CEO of SRC Solutions, Inc. “The GuideK12™ integration is a direct result of customer feedback and the initial response has been remarkable.”

Combining Registration Gateway’s Type Ahead Addresses, Address Purification Gateway and GuideK12™’s geo-visual location technology provides the highest level of simplicity as well as guarding against potential address fraud in K-12 education.

SRC provides a great service to school districts with their Registration Gateway product. At GuideK12™, we are thrilled to be able to embed our technology in a variety of third party solutions to enhance the user experience. We look forward to a long and successful relationship with SRC.

-Chuck Amos, GuideK12™ CEO.

In addition to the enhanced student/parent experience, SRC and GuideK12™ are enhancing the Registration Gateway Advanced Dashboard. Adding a geographical component will allow district leaders to map potentially hundreds of data points to better understand patterns and trends happening in their schools.

The applications are endless.  District outreach to non-English speaking neighborhoods is now much simpler to plan.  Furthermore, identifying where non-school age siblings live to forecast future enrollment can be easily achieved.

About GuideK12™:

Based in Eagan, MN, GuideK12™ LLC is a geovisual analytics software company, which enables education decision makers to instantly explore and analyze school district data by adding a geographic and visual dimension to their student and community information.   GuideK12™ offers a full analytics suite product to districts and works with third parties to enhance their education offerings by adding geo-visual components.  By visualizing information spatially, decisions on everything from boundary analysis, to policy changes to resource planning and forecasting enrollments can be more insightful and faster.  Named a finalist for a 2013 SIIA CODiE award for best enterprise solution and selected by the NSBA as a technology showcase company, GuideK12™ serves large metro, suburban and rural school districts throughout the United Sates. It is owned by private investors and a private investment group based in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

For more about GuideK12™, please visit: www.guidek12.com

About SRC Solutions, Inc.:

Founded in 2001, the Pennsylvania company is a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB), which simplifies and automates cumbersome, repetitive and counter-productive work practices replacing them with easy-to-use, innovative electronic processes. SRC Solutions flagship Gateway Suite incorporates solutions to manage online registration, validate and clean data, as well as improve Student Relationship Management in the K12 market.

For more about SRC Solutions, Inc., please visit: www.registrationgateway.com

SRC Solutions, Inc. Announces integration with Software Answers, Inc. ProgressBook Suite

SRC Solutions, Inc. creators of the Registration Gateway Online Enrollment solution is excited to announce a direct integration with Software Answers, Inc. flagship ProgressBook Suite serving K-12 students.

Direct integration has been a goal of SRC Solutions, Inc. and Software Answers, Inc.  Integrating will provide ProgressBook districts distinct advantages in Online Student Enrollment and data accuracy.

By integrating with SRC Solutions, Inc. Software Answers, Inc. will be able to take advantage of the proven Type Ahead Address processes unique to Registration Gateway providing the highest levels of data accuracy in the Online Enrollment process.

Parents and administrators alike will notice a streamlined process that delivers efficiencies in both time and resources.

ProgressBook districts will realize a cost savings both with hard costs of a traditional paper registration process as well as the costs of administering a legacy process.

“Integrating Registration Gateway’s Online Enrollment solution with ProgressBook allows ProgressBook users immediate savings and a new simple registration process with content management saving effort and time across the district,” says Patrick Maher, SRC Solutions, Inc. CEO.  “Enhancing parent engagement will also be tremendous for ProgressBook users as parents will now be able to register their students online rather than through a traditional forms process.”

Whether your district is 5,000 or 50,000 students, the ProgressBook/Registration Gateway integration is Your Gateway to Automation and Simplification.

Click here to learn more about Registration Gateway.

About SRC Solutions, Inc.:

Founded in 2001, the Pennsylvania company is a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB), which simplifies and automates cumbersome, repetitive and counter-productive work practices replacing them with easy-to-use, innovative electronic processes. SRC Solutions flagship Gateway Suite incorporates solutions to manage online registration, validate and clean data, as well as improve Student Relationship Management in the K12 market.

For more about SRC Solutions, Inc., please visit: www.src-solutions.com

 

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