Rise In ‘Degree Fraud’

A recent poll by the student and graduate careers website Graduate Prospects, suggests that debt-laden graduates seeking to navigate the UK’s competitive job market are prepared to lie about their qualifications in order to get a better chance of finding work.

The survey indicated that the government’s tuition fee hike, which commenced this academic year, will make graduates more likely to lie about the classification and subject of their degree, with some even prepared to declare a degree that was never taken.

The rise in degree fraud is a great concern for universities and students alike. Universities currently spend more than £2m every year fulfilling degree verification requests, whilst ‘fake degrees’ demean the achievements of genuine students, whose hard work and financial investment will fail to stand out amongst the claims of degree frauds.

Of the 1,300 students and graduates questioned in the poll, 43.4% said that the tuition fee increase will make people more likely to lie on their CV.

47.2% of those polled think that students are most likely to lie about their degree classification, whilst 29% think people will claim to have finished courses which were not yet fully completed.

13% believe that graduates will declare a different degree course in order to match specific job requirements and 11% said that graduates will simply invent a degree which was never taken.

Moreover, the poll revealed that although 65.1% know it is illegal to give potential employers false information, 33.3% of students and graduates know someone who has lied in order to bolster their CV.

The problem is compounded by the marked rise of bogus educational institutions, which will award fake degree certificates for a significant fee.

In order to address the lying endemic, the government has launched a new online degree verification system, HEDD (Higher Education Degree Datacheck), which will enable employers to verify information.

The system will allow enquirers to check whether a job applicant’s claims match their actual academic achievements. HEDD will also allow university admissions departments to check the grades of prospective undergraduates.

Chief executive of Graduate Prospects, Mike Hill, highlighted the deterrent effect afforded by the HEDD system:

“Interestingly, 89% of students and graduates said that by just having the knowledge that their qualifications were going to be checked would make them less likely to lie.”

Hill believes that the system is essential in helping employers and universities to operate within a renewed framework of trust, “If someone is willing to lie at such an early stage, how can you trust them when they become part of your organisation? It’s incredibly important that employers validate who they are recruiting.”

The harsh economic climate and rise in university tuition fees means that graduates will be compelled to go to new lengths in order to succeed. HEDD will ensure that these endeavours are kept within the parameters set by the law.

Rob Moher
Senior News Reporter


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