More than 30 fake universities have been closed in the United Kingdom over the past year amid growing concerns about students being sold invalid degrees.
According to a study published on Tuesday, a watchdog organization that monitors fake university degrees in the UK, known as Hedd (Higher Education Degree Datacheck), identified a total of 62 bogus institutions in 2015, with 32 of them being shut down by law enforcement and trading standards agencies, the Guardian reported.
Of the 32 fake institutions closed, 25 were based overseas, said Jayne Rowley, the director of Hedd.
“All the ones that were shut down were completely bogus,” she said,describing the universities as “completely fake sites that talk of campuses of students when there’s literally nothing there at all.”
Since 2011, 220 bogus UK universities have been identified and 80 percent of them are no longer active, Rowley noted.
Degree fraud has turned into a serious problem in the UK over the past years with recent evidence showing an increase in the number of universities offering fake degree certificates.
“With the onset of the internet and distance learning, degree fraud is a borderless crime and we must collaborate with agencies around the world to deal with it,” Rowley said.
“An awful lot of fraud goes undetected, but we also need to get people thinking more about prevention,” she concluded.