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Teesside University reprimanded by advertising watchdog for 'misleading claims'

Teesside University Photo: ITV

Teesside University has been reprimanded by the advertising watchdog for using misleading claims to try to attract students.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has banned "misleading" claims by Teesside University about its graduate prospects. The university says "we strongly believe that the marketing message was accurate, but we respect the decision".

Falmouth, Teesside, East Anglia, Leicester, Strathclyde and West London universities have also been told to remove claims - found by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) to be misleading and unsubstantiated - from their websites.

The Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) will also be issuing guidance off the back of the rulings later this week to "help universities stick to the rules".

The ASA found a claim by Teesside University that it was the "top university in England for long-term graduate prospects" was misleading.

The universities said they based their claims on independent assessments provided by compilers of national and international league tables.

"Our rulings send a clear message to UK universities. If you're making claims about your national or global ranking, student satisfaction or graduate prospects, make sure you practice what you teach: play by the advertising rules, in particular by backing up your claims with good evidence.

"Going to university involves a big financial commitment and misleading would-be students is not only unfair, it can also lead them to make choices that aren't right for them.

"As well as sending this, we're also issuing new guidance to help universities get their ads right so students can be confident they'll get what they pay for."

– ASA chief executive Guy Parker

Teesside University released this statement:

“Teesside University is proud of both the success of its graduates and their employment record and has always demonstrated a continued commitment to transparency and open communication.

“The marketing message cited referred to graduate prospects, a common term in the higher education sector for positive graduate outcomes. It was based on Government data which showed 84.9% of Teesside graduates were in further study, sustained employment, or both after five years and, excluding colleges and conservatoires, placed Teesside as the top university in the country using this measure.”

“We strongly believe that the marketing message was accurate, but we respect the decision of the Advertising Standards Agency and welcome the Committee of Advertising Practice’s first, and necessary, guidance for the sector. As soon as we were made aware of the ASA’s enquiry, we removed the message from all marketing communications.”

– Teesside University