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Woman Charged With Paying Someone to Take Online Classes for Her Son

December 10, 2019

Karen Littlefair, a California woman, has been charged and has agreed to plead guilty to charges that she paid someone to take online courses for her son, and to transfer the credits to Georgetown University, where he was a student.

Littlefair paid the money to Rick Singer, the mastermind of the college admissions scandal, but her son was already enrolled at Georgetown. For the $9,000 she paid, her son received credit for four courses. He graduated from Georgetown last year. Littlefair agreed to plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. The government will recommend a sentence of four months behind bars.

A Georgetown spokeswoman said that during the university's investigation of irregularities in some students' admission, it learned of the possibility that one student admitted to Georgetown may have engaged in inappropriate transfer of online credits. "Our ongoing review process also informed several policy changes underway for online coursework at Georgetown. We have implemented or are in the process of implementing a number of additional measures to safeguard the security and identify of online course participants, including the development of a more robust learning management system that provides better access tools to prevent cheating, along with providing enhanced student learning data to help identify potentially inappropriate behavior. We are also continuing to work to enhance online proctoring solutions, and utilize anti-plagiarism technologies. When the university learns of a potential serious violation of the Honor System after a student has graduated, the Honor Council will investigate and adjudicate the case and may recommend sanctions up to and including the revocation of the student’s degree."

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Scott Jaschik

Scott Jaschik, Editor, is one of the three founders of Inside Higher Ed. With Doug Lederman, he leads the editorial operations of Inside Higher Ed, overseeing news content, opinion pieces, career advice, blogs and other features. Scott is a leading voice on higher education issues, quoted regularly in publications nationwide, and publishing articles on colleges in publications such as The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, Salon, and elsewhere. He has been a judge or screener for the National Magazine Awards, the Online Journalism Awards, the Folio Editorial Excellence Awards, and the Education Writers Association Awards. Scott served as a mentor in the community college fellowship program of the Hechinger Institute on Education and the Media, of Teachers College, Columbia University. He is a member of the board of the Education Writers Association. From 1999-2003, Scott was editor of The Chronicle of Higher Education. Scott grew up in Rochester, N.Y., and graduated from Cornell University in 1985. He lives in Washington.

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