Los Rios works to counter fraudulent student applications


Fraudulent student applications prevent the Los Rios Community College District from accurately observing student enrollment statistics for the college, according to Gabe Ross, vice chancellor for Los Rios media relations. (photo illustration by Alexis Warren)

Colin Bartley

The Los Rios Community College District announced it would be taking action, via online resources, to counter fraudulent student applicants who receive student discounts without enrolling in any classes, according to a faculty-wide email sent by the LRCCD help desk on Oct. 21, 2019. Changes made to the Los Rios application process were effective Oct. 28, 2019.

The LRCCD email noted that the primary concern is with the way the fraudulent applicants directly impact the district’s ability to assess and assist new students in the onboarding process according to the faculty wide email.

These changes stemmed from a developing problem with fraudulent applicants, who are not enrolled in any classes, using the student-issued emails to receive student discounts from various companies, according to Gabe Ross, Associate Vice Chancellor for Los Rios media relations.

The primary impact of these changes will be to the LRCCD G-mail system, which includes the use of Google tools like Google Docs and Google Drive. The LRCCD administration has limited who can be contacted via the student issued G-mail to other LRCCD emails so they can not apply for student discounts from companies without actively participating in classes, according to the faculty email.

Paula Sarantis, an IT support specialist for LRCCD, explained why fraudulent applications have become a problem for the district in the email sent to Los Rios faculty.

“Many vendors and services offer discounts for customers with .edu email addresses, leading to literally thousands of people applying to our colleges each term just to get their wID,” Sarantis wrote. “Additionally, fraudulent applications impact our ability to effectively measure how successful our student onboarding processes are.”

In order to counter this issue, the administration decided to place restrictions on student-issued G-mail accounts.The LRCCD administration said it hopes to tackle this issue effectively while still keeping the application process as accessible as possible for new students, according to Sarantis.

Ross explained that this issue is especially problematic for American River College because of the website layout of California Community College Apply, a website for college applicants in California, in an email interview with the Current.

“When you go to CCC Apply and select a college to apply for, ARC is among the first listed alphabetically,” Ross wrote.

Ross added that the administration is taking steps to confront the issue and is looking into other long-term solutions.

“New applicants can still email faculty, staff or other students …they just can’t use it for other uses until they actually enroll,” Ross wrote.  “This will eliminate the ability of those applicants who never intend to enroll in our colleges to verify their email address with the companies providing the discounts.”

Some of these changes to the Los Rios G-mail settings were put in place last month,  however the administration plans to enact further changes at a later date but wants to make sure any updates made will not affect new students looking to enroll.