HC Deb 08 November 1999 vol 337 cc437-8W
Mr. Boswell

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if he will make a statement on measures designed to curtail fraud in the student support system. [97489]

Mr. Wicks

There are a number of well established measures to combat fraud in the student support system. All applications for higher education places submitted through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Services (UCAS) are scrutinised by HUNTER, a specialist computer system which checks for suspect applications. The UCAS Verification Unit—which received £50,000 in grant aid from my Department this year—investigates individual cases arousing suspicion. It also shares information with local education authorities (LEAs), which assess eligibility for support; the Student Loans Company (SLC), which is responsible for most payments; and higher education institutions, which confirm student attendance on their courses. The LEAs and SLC make their own complementary checks including scrutiny of supporting documentary evidence, and the SLC carries out its own investigations using the HUNTER system.

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