New verification system uncovers dozens of bogus universities

A degree verification system has uncovered more than 130 bogus UK universities in just three months.

The Higher Education Degree Datacheck (HEDD) system, launched in June, aims to tackle the problem of degree fraud by enabling employers to easily verify candidate qualifications online.

It has already flagged up more than 130 universities and colleges that incorrectly claim to award UK degrees, with more "degree mills" being detected weekly.

The HEDD is operated by Graduate Prospects, the UK's official graduate careers support service.

Chief executive Mike Hill said it would be impossible to stamp out bogus HEIs completely, but that the system was helping to highlight organisations that have operated illegally.

"The list of institutions we have to date goes back to 1990, and while not all of them will still be active, they have been in our system at some point and anyone can still name them on their CV," he said.

"The wider issue of degree fraud is unlikely to diminish unless a solution is developed that not only addresses the problem but also eases the administrative burden, simplifies the verification process and reduces costs."

Mr Hill said the HEDD system was doing what it could, but warned there was "still a job to be done".

"We are calling out to the sector and to employers to come together and help stamp out activity that damages the reputation of a UK education," he said.

chris.parr@tsleducation.com

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