Higher Education Degree Datacheck (Hedd) is the UK's official service for verifying academic degrees and authenticating universities. It also takes action against diploma mills purporting to be UK universities. It is funded by the UK government through the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) and is run by Prospects.
Hedd was created by Prospects in partnership with HEFCE and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills in response to fears about fake universities and CV fraud, and went live in 2012 after a beta launch in 2011. At the time, it was believed that there were twice as many fake universities in the UK as real ones. In 2014, it revealed that 8% of degrees submitted could not be verified, with the most common problem being claiming a first class degree when the actual award was at a lower classification. Hedd issued a warning in 2016 against posting graduation selfies with certificates shown, as this would allow fraudulent websites to see and copy the designs of degree certificates. By January 2017 Hedd had shut down more than 40 fake university websites since the UK government announced a crackdown in June 2015, and that it had had reports of over 90 bogus institutions. In December 2017 it officially partnered with the Chinese Service Centre for Scholarly Exchange to validate the degrees of UK graduates returning to or entering China.
- Bogus colleges in the United Kingdom
- Diploma mill
- List of unaccredited institutions of higher education
- Job fraud
- "About us". Hedd. Retrieved 25 March 2018.
- David Batty (2 August 2016). "More than 30 fake UK universities closed by watchdog". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 March 2018.
- Jayne Rowley (18 July 2012). "Degree fraud: detection as deterrent". The Guardian.
- Sean Coughlan (2 April 2014). "Degree checks 'uncover grade fraud'". BBC News. Retrieved 25 March 2018.
- Caitlin Doherty (8 July 2016). "Students being warned of the dangers of posting graduation selfies". The Independent. Retrieved 25 March 2018.
- "Fake university degree websites shut down". BBC News. 3 January 2017. Retrieved 25 March 2018.
- "Prospects signs agreement on degree verification between UK and China". OnRec. 20 December 2017. Retrieved 25 March 2018.