The Independent is reporting that Ucas has admitted it has more work to do after new data reveals that black students are 22 times more likely to have their university applications investigated than their white counterparts.
The latest figures come after The Independent first highlighted the issue, leading to accusations of “racial profiling” of applicants.
More than half (52 per cent) of the UK applications flagged by Ucas’ verification service between 2013 and 2017 were from black students – despite black applicants making up around 9 per cent of all university applicants, according to new data released today.
The data, which covers five years, shows that a total of 2,675 black British applicants to undergraduate courses were flagged up as a concern, compared to 995 white British applicants.
Ucas had previously insisted that ethnicity was not taken into account during the screening of applications – however today’s report states that individuals who may be aware of an applicant’s ethnicity can contact Ucas and raise their concerns about an application.
The verification team can be contacted by individuals from schools, employers, banks and the police, the new report says.
The admissions service said that its fraud detection software – which is used to screen applications – uses historical data as a reference, and this could potentially play a part in the differences.
Ucas had made enhancements to its fraud detection service to reduce the risk of “false positives” and it has said it will reach out to organisations that represent ethnic minority groups.
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