Ucas criticised over fraud screening of black applicants

May 31, 2018 by

Labour MP David Lammy calls for greater transparency in university admissions process

The university admissions service Ucas is under pressure after an investigation revealed that more than half of all applications flagged for possible fraud are from black students.

Ucas researchers found that over a five-year period 52% of applications investigated for potential fraudulent activity were from black candidates, even though they only make up 9% of total applications.

In contrast, over the same period – between 2013 and 2017 – just 19% of all suspicious applications were from white students, even though they make up 73% of all applications. Asian students made up 11% of applicants and 16% of those flagged.

Ucas conducted its investigation after a freedom of information request by the Independent earlier this year indicated the process for investigating fraud in university applications was far more likely to demand proof of claims from black applicants than white ones.

That request focused on figures for 2017, but Ucas’s subsequent investigation shows the same pattern over a five-year period, with a total of 2,675 black applicants being flagged out of an applicant population of 260,550.

Out of 2.1m applications from white students over the same period, 995 were flagged. Around 40% of flagged applications were cancelled by Ucas, a figure broadly proportionate to the percentages flagged in each ethnic group.

Ucas’s chief executive Clare Marchant said the investigation had shown that applications were only being cancelled where there was clear evidence of fraud or missing information. But she said “there is more work for us to do to ensure that flagging is as robust as it can be across all areas of the verification service.”

Source: Ucas criticised over fraud screening of black applicants | Education | The Guardian

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