Universities taking cash warned over money laundering risk

A significant number of universities in the United Kingdom are still taking millions of pounds in cash as payment for tuition fees and accommodation, making them vulnerable to criminal gangs and money laundering, according to a study, writes Sally Weale for The Guardian.

A fifth of universities who responded to a freedom of information (FoI) request said they had accepted cash payments, while three institutions each accepted more than £1 million in cash in 2019-20 alone. Researchers received responses from 110 universities of which 22 were continuing to accept cash payments, while a further 17 stopped taking cash during or after 2019-20. Cash payments across the 39 institutions totalled £12 million for that year.

It was thought most universities had stopped accepting cash after a Times investigation highlighted the risks of inadvertently facilitating money laundering, but the new research says “a significant number” are still willing to do so. “What’s even more concerning is that some organisations do not impose any limit on the amount paid in cash,” said the lead author, Professor Nicholas Ryder from Cardiff University’s school of law and politics.
Full report on The Guardian site