South West Wales

London Tasmac college linked to UoW closes suddenly

Screen grab of logo on Tasmac university website
Image caption The college shut its doors on Friday, according to reports on social media

A college in London which awards degrees validated by the University of Wales (UoW) has closed suddenly.

The UoW said it was offering "direct support" and assisting in the transfer of 650 students at Tasmac London School of Business to other colleges.

It is a further difficulty for the UoW which has recently faced widespread criticism over its validation of degrees at partner colleges.

UoW confirmed the closure. The BBC was unable to contact the college.

The investigation by BBC Wales' Week In Week Out programme examined how overseas students were being made offers to cheat their way to UoW degrees and UK graduate work visas. Tasmac college did not feature in the BBC programme.

The university said it wanted to repair its "tarnished brand" and would stop validating courses at all other institutions in the UK and abroad.

The UKBA and the Metropolitan Police subsequently launched two investigations which led to raids being carried out.

"University of Wales academics and officers travelled to London last week and are meeting the students today," a statement from UoW said.

"The university has been in discussions with other collaborative centres to arrange for the 650 students on University of Wales programmes to transfer to programmes at these institutions".

Tightened regulations

The UoW said any transfers of students would be subject to the requirements of the UK Borders Agency (UKBA).

"If students do have to leave the country for any reason the University will offer the opportunity to transfer them on to a distance learning programme", said the UoW.

"Students also have the option of taking an exit qualification."

The UKBA said Tasmac had indicated that it wanted to stop sponsoring foreign students and would surrender its licence to do do.

The agency also stressed that it had tightened visa regulations for foreign students studying in the UK.

"Earlier this year, we announced that from April 2012 all institutions wanting to sponsor foreign students would have be classed as a Highly Trusted Sponsor by the UK Border Agency and would need to inspected by an approved educational oversight body by the end of 2012", said a spokesman for the agency.

"These changes protect legitimate students and ensure that only those education providers with a proven track record in immigration compliance will be licensed to bring international students to the UK."

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