Watchdog tells six universities to scrap adverts
Six universities have been forced to scrap their marketing campaigns as the UK advertising watchdog launches a crackdown on false claims that mislead students.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) examined a range of claims – including the University of Leicester stating that it was in the “top 1%” in the world – and found that none of the assertions could be proved to be true.
Claims include Falmouth University saying it was the UK’s “number one arts and creative university”; Teesside University saying it was the “top university in England for long-term graduate prospects”; the University of Strathclyde claiming its physics department had been ranked as “number one in the UK”; the University of East Anglia saying it was in the “top five for student satisfaction”; and the University of West London claiming it had been named as “London’s top modern university – and one of the top 10 in the UK”.
The ASA said that the universities’ tactics broke the UK advertising code. It banned them from making the claims and assertions in the future.
The ASA has launched the crackdown to address “increasing concerns” about the way universities entice students, after the issue was thrust into the spotlight in June when the University of Reading was forced to withdraw its claim that it was in the top 1% of institutions globally.
“Our rulings send a clear message to UK universities,” said Guy Parker, chief executive of the ASA. “If you’re making claims about your national or global ranking, student satisfaction or graduate prospects, make sure you practise what you teach: play by the advertising rules.”