December 20, 2012 at 09:30 AM EST
Higher One Partners with iDatafy to Fight Financial Aid Fraud

Higher One, a leader in providing financial services and data analytics to over 1,250 college and university campuses across the U.S., announces it has entered into an exclusive agreement with iDatafy to bring solutions to higher education that proactively identify suspect student enrollments and applications through the use of advanced data analytics.

Individuals and fraud ring leaders, known as “Pell Runners” and “Straw Students,” are using various tactics such as identity theft to defraud and exploit the U.S. financial aid system that, according to the Department of Education, processes more than $145 billion in federal funding annually. The crime of financial aid fraud has escalated in recent years and incidents have been found to be most prevalent at community colleges and institutions that offer online courses and long-distance learning.

Higher One will offer iDatafy’s proprietary technology, the first contributory database designed to proactively identify and fight financial aid fraud. This database prevents institutions from becoming victims by auditing their existing student enrollments and new applications through the detailed analysis of student information and records, a process which is compliant with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). The patent pending technology has the ability not only to recognize patterns and abnormalities in data that reflects students who appear to share similar contact information, but also flags whether a particular student has habitually taken aid from a number of other institutions and then dropped out. Reports generated can help isolate suspect applicants and existing student enrollments that could pose a fraud risk for the institution.

“Criminals have no place in the financial aid system. In two recent data studies at separate universities, iDatafy’s technology was able to detect two out of three Pell runners and straw students within seconds,” said David Wengel, founder and CEO of iDatafy. “This type of detection would traditionally take a school years to identify. Working with Higher One to bring this proprietary technology to higher education was a natural fit since they are the national leader in providing secure electronic disbursement of financial aid and have been very involved with their clients in the efforts to fight fraud.”

More than 600 campuses across the U.S. are already helping mitigate financial aid fraud risks by using Higher One’s OneDisburse® Refund Management® funds disbursement service, which streamlines operations and provides students with the option of receiving financial aid funds through Electronic Funds Transfers (EFT’s), a more secure disbursement method for financial aid funds. At each institution, Higher One’s OneDisburse system intrinsically analyzes the aggregate disbursement data for irregularities, such as unusually high amounts of financial aid refunds, increased frequency of refunds, suspicious addresses, and other general trends. The platform also employs a verification process that promotes the authentication of each student recipient’s identity.

“Financial aid fraud deeply impacts all of us--government, schools, students, their families, and tax payers. We cannot tolerate the abuse of these programs, and so we’re all working to make sure financial aid refund money is only going to students who seek it to get an education,” said Miles Lasater, COO and co-founder of Higher One. “Over a decade ago, Higher One was a pioneer in leading the effort to bring students financial aid through electronic disbursement, a method that helps keep precious financial aid refunds more secure for the student and limits vulnerability to predatory fraud ring leaders. Higher One continues to respond to higher education’s plea to find more proactive technological solutions to prevent these financial aid fraud rings by partnering with iDatafy.”

For a demonstration and preliminary data analysis of records, institutions working with Higher One can contact their Higher One Relationship Manager.

About iDatafy

iDatafy is a new kind of real-time information services company. iDatafy’s proprietary process helps companies fight fraud and improves marketing efficiencies in a transparent and fully compliant manner. That is the “Power of iDatafy.” For more information, visit: www.idatafy.com.

About Higher One

Higher One Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: ONE) is a leading company focused on creating cost-saving efficiencies for higher education institutions and providing high-value services to students. Higher One offers a wide array of technological services on campus, ranging from streamlining the institution’s performance analytics and financial aid refund processes to offering students innovative banking services, tuition payment plans, and the basics of financial management. Higher One works closely with colleges and universities to allocate resources more efficiently in order to provide a higher quality of service and education to students.

Founded in 2000 on a college campus by college students, Higher One now serves more than half of the higher education market, providing its services to over 1,250 campuses and 10.8 million students at distinguished public and private institutions nationwide. More information about Higher One can be found at HigherOne.com.

Contacts:

Media:
Higher One Holdings, Inc.
Shoba V. Lemoine, 203-776-7776 x 4503
slemoine@higherone.com
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