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Bogus college clampdown should force government to revisit for-profit university plans, says union

2 November 2011 | last updated: 11 December 2015

As the immigration minister Damien Green today reported on the crackdown on bogus colleges, UCU called on the government to review its own plans to allow for-profit universities greater access to taxpayers' money.

The union said if the government is genuinely concerned about the UK's proud international reputation for educational excellence it must re-examine its proposals to allow for-profit companies a larger share of public funds.

UCU said the US provided a worrying example of what could happen when higher education was handed over to those with an eye on a fast buck, and warned that many of the same companies who had been embroiled in scandals in the US for mis-selling degrees and questionable degrees were now targeting the UK.
 
The union highlighted recent comments by Steve Eisman, the US short-selling investor, who said: 'I thought that there would never again be an opportunity to be involved with an industry as socially destructive and morally bankrupt as the sub-prime mortgage industry. I was wrong. The for-profit education industry has proven equal to the task.'

UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: 'If the government is serious about maintaining our proud tradition of excellence in higher education it must urgently re-examine its plans to allow for-profit companies greater access to taxpayers' money.
 
'Ministers must not turn a blind eye to what is happening in the US, where the for-profit sector has become embroiled in a series of high profile scandals over mis-selling degrees and dodgy recruitment practices. Thousands of students have been ripped off and the same must not be allowed to happen here or it will do lasting damage to our international reputation."'

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