Tuesday, June 25th

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The former financial aid director at a Racine County college for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities claims the school has been violating federal student loan rules to dramatically ramp up enrollment.

In a federal lawsuit, Jacqueline Niccolai says Shepherds College fired her after just four months in retaliation for raising concerns about what she calls fraud against the U.S. Department of Education. 

One of Niccolai's attorneys, Nola Hitchcock Cross, said the college should have heeded Niccolai's warnings, not fire her.

"Such conduct is intended to and does deter other whistleblowers," Hitchcock Cross said in a statement. "For this reason, the damages for discharging whistleblowers under the False Claims Act are among the strongest of any statute covering retaliation against employees."

Nola J. Hitchcock Cross is the managing partner of Cross Law Firm, with offices in Milwaukee and Waukesha.(Photo: Nola J. Hitchcock Cross contributed photo)

The suit seeks double her back pay with interest, along with other lost earnings and special damages for discrimination.