A BBC Panorama documentary airing tonight (Monday 13th November 2017) on the ‘Student Loans Scandal’ will reveal how education agents are recruiting bogus students to private colleges to claim loans they should not have access to. Agents help students to obtain fraudulent qualifications, offer to sell coursework and are able to fake attendance.
The programme has uncovered evidence of abuse of the student loan system in one of the biggest private colleges in England, Greenwich School of Management, whose degrees are awarded by Plymouth University.
These revelations come after a whistle-blower approached Liberal Democrat peer Mike Storey. Lord Storey has been questioning the government on this issue through parliamentary questions.
Commenting ahead of tonight’s programme, Liberal Democrat Education spokesperson Layla Moran MP said: “The Liberal Democrats had real reservations about the privatisation of Higher Education, which we expressed forcibly during the passage of the HE bill. The alleged activities of Greenwich School of Management and Plymouth University are a clear example of a flawed system. Activity such as this has cost the taxpayers a fortune in fraudulently claimed public money and undermines the value of a British degree. Every student who has worked hardly and honestly to attain their qualification will feel let down by these revelations.
There are questions to be answered by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education and the Student Loans Company about whether they were aware of any concerns and if they believe their procedures are thorough enough to detect bogus schemes like this. The government must immediately set up an independent inquiry into how private providers are accredited, outlaw essay mills and introduce rigorous procedures for quality control in the future.”