Higher tuition fees will make graduates more likely to lie about their qualifications, a survey finds.
The move to triple fees to a maximum of £9,000 from this autumn, and a tough job market, will result in an increase in so-called "degree fraud", research by Graduate Prospects suggests.
Around two-fifths (43.4%) of the 1,300 students and graduates polled say the hike will make people more likely to lie on their CV to help gain a job.
At the same time two-thirds (65.1%) know it is illegal to give the wrong information on a CV. Almost half (47.2%) say people are more likely to lie about the grade they got, while 29% think people lie about completing courses when they only finished part of it.
Others think graduates are likely to lie about the subject they studied, or having a degree when they do not. A third know someone who has lied or exaggerated about their qualifications, the survey finds.
The poll is part of Graduate Prospects's work on a new online degree verification system called Hedd (higher education degree datacheck).
The system, which is government-funded, is aimed at preventing fraud by making it easier for firms to check qualifications.
Graduate Prospects chief executive Mike Hill said: "We found that half of students and graduates expect employers to check qualifications. But the reality is quite different. As part of a Hedd pilot study, we found that the vast majority of small businesses and only a fifth of large companies verify qualifications.
"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. 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 combination of higher fees and a difficult labour market could well make degree fraud more widespread. The sector needs to come together to raise awareness of these issues, protecting the time and financial investment made by genuine students, as well as the reputation of a UK education."
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