新聞標題：Newcastle Expels Overseas Students with Fake Grades
Mainly Chinese students may have been victims of bogus agents who forged applications, says university
記者：Anthea Lipsett guardian.co.uk,
Wednesday November 12 2008 10.15 GMT Article history
All the forgeries were of "high quality", says Newcastle University. Photograph: Carlos Dominguez/Corbis
Universities were warned to be vigilant against fraudulent applications today as it emerged one leading institution was forced to kick out 50 overseas students after an investigation.
Newcastle University has excluded 49 students from China and one from Taiwan after their documents were found to be fake.
The university is now urging others to watch out for high-quality forged certificates that it believes may be circulating widely.
University officials became suspicious when some of the students, who started undergraduate and postgraduate courses last month, failed English language assessments, compulsory for arriving students who do not speak English as their first language.
An investigation concluded that the students, who had all arrived within the last few weeks to start their studies, had documents relating to their applications and entry qualifications that were either forged or altered to state higher grades than were actually achieved.
The university said it regretted having to exclude the students because many of them appeared to be victims of bogus "agents", based either in China or the UK, who were paid to submit applications, including supporting documents, on their behalf.
A spokesman said: "The students were insufficiently qualified to meet the rigorous standards of the university's academic programmes and it was necessary to exclude them to protect the interests of hundreds of properly qualified students as well as the reputation of the university.
"The forgeries, mainly certificates for English language qualifications or degrees awarded by other universities, are of such high quality that they could not have been detected by the usual checks carried out by admissions officers."
The university has informed the Home Office and the police of the results of its investigations and said it believed other academic institutions could be affected.
"We would strongly advise other universities to look very carefully at the systems they have in place to detect fraudulent applications and to strengthen them if necessary," it added.
Of the excluded students, 33 are postgraduates and 17 undergraduates.
All the students excluded were admitted at the start of the current academic year, in September 2008, with the majority enrolled for programmes at university's business school.
They were excluded after being invited to individual interviews and have been notified of the university's decision. They have the right of appeal within 14 days.
The university said it would not withhold students' full fees and is introducing a number of changes to its admissions procedures, one of which will be to draw up and publish on its website a list of approved agents.
"The vast majority of applications for study at this university are genuine," it said.
"We are, however, aware that there is an increasing national and international problem of fraudulent applications and this prompted us, as a university, to take action."
The use of agents is common among students from several countries, including China. While the university said most agents are reputable, it believed that the activities of "bogus" agents have recently become a serious problem.
Critics have claimed that overseas students are allowed to graduate from UK universities with poor English language skills.
The Home Office is phasing in new visa requirements aimed at weeding out fake students.