It has been reported in The Sunday Times that London Metropolitan University has lost it’s ‘highly trusted status’
As part of the highly trusted status London Metropolitan University was able to attract foreign students to apply for visas to the UK with reason to study at the institution.
Somehow an audit carried out by the UK Border Agency (UKBA) was obtained by The Sunday Times. It claims that among the many shortcomings of The London Metropolitan University, some of them were:
■ Students “continuing to study at London Metropolitan University without valid leave [visas] despite the university having reassured us that this issue had been rectified”.
■ Students being granted visas to enter Britain, but not turning up to enrol on their courses and the university failing to report their non-attendance to the Border Agency.
■ Failure by the university to test adequately the English ability of foreign students.
■ Failure to assess students’ academic ability and academic records.
London Metropolitan University Responds
Professor Malcolm Gillies, Vice-Chancellor of London Metropolitan University has responded with the following statement.
“We condemn the actions that have led to London Metropolitan University learning from The Sunday Times that it might have its Highly Trusted Sponsor (HTS) status revoked.
On 16th July 2012, the UKBA suspended the University’s Highly Trusted Sponsor status until further notice over fears that a small minority of its international students did not have accurate documentation to remain in the UK.
For the last six weeks we have repeatedly tried to liaise with the UKBA to understand further their concerns, which seem to be focused on processes related to the legacy of previous management. Disappointingly, the UKBA has been unwilling to communicate with the University, despite the growing £10 million-plus hole their action has already left on our balance sheet.
To learn that we might have our HTS status revoked via a newspaper, with the panic that this can cause for thousands of students, is outrageous. We have written to the Prime Minister, Home Secretary and Immigration Minister and asked them to outline who authorised the briefing of the story to The Sunday Times and what consideration was given to the impact it might have on our students. As far as we are officially aware, UKBA is still working through an analysis of our case. Indeed in a radio interview this morning (Sunday 26 August), Immigration Minister Damian Green MP said that a decision had not yet been made regarding London Met’s Highly Trusted Status.
At this time, our concern is with our students: to inform and assist our international students and applicants, who have put their faith in our institution. They will need clear information on their options for future study and timelines for securing those options. Our home and EU students also need reassurance and support.
The University will come up with a more comprehensive response once it has received official notification from UKBA.
Vice Chancellor, London Metropolitan University”
London Metropolitan University Scandals
London Metropolitan University has been rocked by several crises since it was formed in 2002 from the merger of two universities. In 2009 it was ordered to repay £36.5m to the Higher Education Funding Council for England after overstating its student numbers and wrongly gaining government grants as a result. It was also placed on an official list of universities at risk of financial failure.