The promoting watchdog has instructed six UK universities to take down advertising claims that might be deceptive.
Leicester, East Anglia, Strathclyde, Falmouth, Teesside and the College of West London have all had complaints upheld towards them.
The Promoting Requirements Authority is warning towards exaggerated claims made to draw college students.
Chief government Man Parker says college students want “good proof” when making such a giant monetary dedication.
“Deceptive would-be college students will not be solely unfair, it could additionally make them make decisions that are not proper for them,” stated Mr Parker.
For the primary time universities are going to be issued with steering on avoiding deceptive data.
Nick Hillman, director of the Greater Schooling Coverage Institute, stated that intensifying competitors between universities now has a “contact of the Wild West about it”.
“Universities must be cautious about their claims, which have to be sturdy, truthful and helpful.
“However it’s a good factor that they’re telling potential candidates greater than they used to previously.”
Lots of of 1000’s of younger individuals are presently deciding their choices for functions for programs subsequent autumn.
The Promoting Requirements Authority says universities making an attempt to recruit college students have to have the ability to objectively show the claims they’re making about their excessive standing.
The watchdog desires to cease unjustified claims and supply a clearer clarification of accomplishment in rankings and league tables.
Complaints had been upheld towards six universities:
- Falmouth College has been instructed to cease describing itself as “the UK’s primary arts college” or “the UK’s primary inventive college”.
- Teesside College had a criticism upheld for saying it was the “High college in England for long-term graduate prospects”.
- College of East Anglia has been instructed to not use the declare “High 5 for pupil satisfaction”.
- College of Leicester should cease claiming to be “a prime 1% world college”.
- College of Strathclyde has been instructed to vary the declare “We’re ranked No. 1 within the UK” for physics.
- College of West London should cease claiming to be “London’s prime fashionable college – and one of many prime 10 within the UK”.
Lots of the challenges from the watchdog have been about how data from rankings or comparability tables have been offered.
“For those who’re making claims about your nationwide or world rating, pupil satisfaction or graduate prospects, be sure to practise what you train… by backing up your claims with good proof,” stated the top of the watchdog, Mr Parker.
The colleges concerned have argued that they’ve put ahead correct data – however there might be better clarification.
“We do not got down to mislead or confuse potential college students,” stated a press release from the College of Leicester.
The college says its declare to be within the prime 1% on the planet is predicated on figures from a number of worldwide rankings.
“Whereas we disagree with the Promoting Requirements Authority on their evaluation methodology, we are going to abide by their ruling,” stated the College of Leicester.
Teesside additionally defended its claims over graduate prospects.
“We strongly consider that the advertising message was correct, however we respect the choice of the Promoting Requirements Authority ,” stated a spokesman for Teesside College.
The College of West London says it has absolutely complied with the ruling: “The promoting that was the topic of investigation has been eliminated and won’t seem in our future advertising supplies.”
Charles Heymann, a better schooling communications adviser, had been head of communications on the College of Studying when it was instructed to cease utilizing the declare to be within the prime 1% of world universities.
“It is a wake-up name to the entire sector. I think it just about kills off “prime 1%” as a strapline and sends a transparent message that universities have to be whiter than white of their promoting.”
Mr Heymann stated that rankings may “exaggerate very marginal variations between particular person universities.
“It is tempting for advertising groups to push the boundaries so far as they will go in emphasising them. Sooner or later, most universities can be within the prime 10 or 25 for one thing.”
A spokesman for Universities UK stated: “With a proliferation of college rankings, information and awards now in existence, there’s a want for clearer tips for universities in how they use this in a means which is clearly understood by college students.”