Students May Have Paid Cash to Change Grades, College Says

Prosecutors in California are investigating accusations that dozens of students paid hundreds of dollars to have grades changed at a Bay Area community college, college officials say.

Authorities at the institution, Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill, about 40 miles east of San Francisco, said in a statement issued late Thursday that at least 74 students might have paid someone to change lower grades to higher ones. The college authorities said as many as 400 grades recorded on computer transcripts might have been altered in a five-year period.

The interim president at Diablo Valley College, Diane Scott-Summers, said the administration had transferred all records, the names of students who might be involved and other materials to the Contra Costa County district attorney's office, which is investigating.

Diablo Valley administrators and the college's police department declined to discuss the case on Friday.

Dr. Scott-Summers also said in the statement that the community college district's internal auditor, information services unit and police force, and a limited number of faculty members and other college personnel have been looking into the accusations, which came to light during an investigation that began in January 2006.

The Associated Press reported on Friday that the dean of the college's math department had alerted administrators to the grade discrepancies, while a tip from an anonymous caller revealed that a student worker had been accepting money for altering computer records, in some cases as much as $600 per grade.

The chairwoman of the math department, Cheryl Wilcox, said college authorities would correct doctored grades, if any were found.