Allan Reinikka

Anti-corruption body warns universities about cheaters

THE Independent Commission Against Corruption has issued a warning to NSW universities that are not taking action against fraudulent and cheating students in order to keep a good global reputation.

The ICAC issued a report on Friday that said NSW universities should consider separating compliance and financial elements of international student offices.

"The commission says that academics can feel pressure to forsake their role in enforcing compliance with academic standards for the financial good of the faculty in the competitive environment of the international student market," the statement said.

The report said inter-twining compliance and profit, rather than separating them; and prioritising a university's profits over dealing with cheating students was questionable and corrupt behaviour.

The commission said the number of fee-paying international students had increased 13-fold since 1988.

It said 17% of university operating revenues came from international student fees, meaning profits from overseas students were central to a university's activities.

But as some universities use up to 300 local agencies to market and recruit overseas students, it can result in gaps.

The paper said students might be struggling to pass, but universities "could not afford" to fail them.

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