SAN DIEGO (CN) - United States University, a profit-seeking school near San Diego, will pay a civil fine of $686,720 for submitting false applications for federal grants for which students were not eligible, federal prosecutors said.
The school's former financial aid director pleaded guilty to criminal financial aid fraud, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.
The school has campuses in Chula Vista and Cypress. It was known as InterAmerican University from 1997 to 2010, when it changed its name. It has nursing and other programs.
Its former financial aid director, Christina Miller, pleaded guilty to federal charges of criminal financial aid fraud, the U.S. attorney said. She admitted "that she knowingly and willfully falsified student financial aid applications, resulting in the improper awarding of federal Pell Grants to ineligible students. Under federal law, students already holding Bachelor's degrees are generally not eligible for Pell Grant funds, but Miller admitted changing student degree status in order to allow the school to improperly receive Pell Grant funds from the U.S. Department of Education."
Miller, 60, of San Diego will be sentenced on June 27.
Educacion Significativa ["Meaningful Education"] LLC and IAC Funding LLC dba United States University will pay the civil fine.
The whistleblower, Veronica Glaser, a former student and employee, will get some of the recovery under the False Claims Act.