Simplify School Residency Verification With Digital Utility Bills

Ma-Keba Frye  |  April 21, 2021  |  ID Verification  

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Throughout the country, enrollment fraud plagues public schools. Enrollment fraud involves the falsifying of school residency verification records in order to enroll a student outside of their district or zone. Enrollment fraud is often deliberate as parents aim to send their children to better-performing schools, but other times, parents simply forget to update their address after moving.

While the act may seem harmless, enrollment fraud is illegal and costly to school districts. Here’s how enrollment fraud impacts schools – and how they can fight back.

Verifying student residency

Although school residency verification requirements vary across states and districts, schools typically require one or more recent utility bills and an additional piece of documentation for proof of address. Some schools only accept specific utility bills, like electric, power, or gas, to verify residency. These documents are often submitted in paper form and require parents to print, mail, or drop them off in person.

While this may seem like a simple requirement, schools often deal with parents submitting falsified documents – a crime that can lead to a student’s removal from the school, fines, and in some cases, jail time for the parents.

How enrollment fraud impacts schools and taxpayers

Parents may commit enrollment fraud out of desperation, in an attempt to provide their children with a better and safer option. However, they don’t consider the impact that it has on schools and taxpayers. In Metro Atlanta, it costs roughly $8,000 to $13,000 to educate each student – a cost that taxpayers partially fund. When children go to schools outside of their district illegally, they’re taking resources from another student, which adds up over time.

In Decatur, Georgia, the school board had to hire a full-time staff member to handle the 120 to 160 annual suspected cases of false residency.

School districts also bear the brunt of these acts by allocating higher budgets to address fraud concerns. In Decatur, Georgia, the school board had to hire a full-time staff member to handle the 120 to 160 annual suspected cases of false residency.

How schools can mitigate enrollment fraud

Enrollment fraud isn’t easy to uncover, especially for schools that still rely on paper enrollment forms. When fraud is suspected, school staff may conduct an investigation which can include a home visit, requesting a notarized affidavit from the parents, or even hiring private investigators and residency police officers. These labor-intensive measures can be replaced and streamlined with digital utility bill verification.

Digital utility bill verification can provide schools with reliable, untampered, and up-to-date information, helping to weed out the fakes.

Urjanet’s Utility Data for Identity Verification solution provides direct and digital access to utility bills, enabling parents and guardians to easily submit school residency verification directly from their utility or phone provider. This method gives schools reliable, untampered, and up-to-date information, helping to weed out the fakes. As an added benefit, in this digital age, replacing paper forms helps to streamline the enrollment process for parents and schools.

Simplify school residency verification with Urjanet

As enrollment fraud persists and digital processes become the norm, now’s the time for school districts to take a new approach to school residency verification. Digital utility bills can provide schools with the reliable information they need, while at the same time reducing the costs associated with fighting fraud. To learn more about how Urjanet can help chip away at school enrollment fraud, contact us today.

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About Ma-Keba Frye

Ma-Keba Frye is a Content Marketing Associate at Urjanet, assisting with content development and execution. When she's not writing, she enjoys reading, listening to music, and volunteering.


Tags   Identity & Fraud   |   Urjanet   |   Utility Bills   |