Rich students are somehow paying their tuition fees in physical cash

And these are the unis accepting the biggest amounts of cash money

Students are somehow managing to pay their uni tuition fees in physical cash, it has been revealed.

You can’t pay for a house or a car in cash, but a number of unis have accepted £52 million in the last five years from students paying fees with banknotes, according to an investigation by The Times.

The prospect of students slapping briefcases full of reddies on their Vice Chancellors’ desks has, unsurprisingly, raised concerns about money laundering, with an expert saying unis accepting cash are at “high risk of laundering the proceeds of crime”.

Bristol Uni was paid a total of £140,000 in cash last year, but stopped accepting physical payments in September. Durham has accepted £440,000 from foreign students in the past five years.

Manchester stopped taking cash in November 2019, while Nottingham stopped accepting briefcases full of banknotes during the pandemic.

These are the unis who have accepted the most cash in the past five years:

Essex: £5,393,490

Manchester: £5,007,749

Surrey: £3,184,627

Wolverhampton: £2,754, 368

De Montfort: £2,732,209

Huddersfield: £2,421,754

Coventry: £1,827,049

Brighton: £1,815,500

Nottingham: £1,795,315

Lancaster: £1,747,634

The cash is used to pay not just tuition fees, but accommodation fees, or any one of the numerous ways unis extract money from students. Much of the money comes with abroad, with £7.7 million in cash coming from Chinese students, £1.8 million from Indian students, and £1.5 million from Nigerian students.

Matthew Page of the Chatham House think tank told The Times: “Universities that accept cash are at high risk of laundering the proceeds of crime, corruption and other illicit activities. Universities that fail to conduct basic due diligence cannot plausibly deny that they are involved in money laundering.”

Seemingly aware of the risks, most unis have stopped the practice – including Essex and De Montfort – while all told The Times they had due diligence processes to avoid money laundering.

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