The Australian National University will investigate an agency it uses to recruit international students after allegations the company accepts forged school transcripts from students trying to secure a place in Australian universities.
A representative from Beijing agency Shinyway was shown telling an undercover reporter it would accept forged transcripts from students with poor academic records, during a Four Corners investigation aired on Monday night.
The ANU is just one Australian university that uses the agent.
Vice-chancellor Professor Ian Young said ANU had not terminated any contracts with any international agents over integrity concerns, but planned to investigate the allegations against Shinyway to ensure it was acting with the highest level of integrity.
"The university will take further action if the agent is not complying with the university's high standards," he said.
"The university has ongoing processes in place to monitor the performance of recruitment agents, and conducts a variety of checks and audits of documents submitted as part of applications for admission to ANU."
The University of Canberra has terminated contracts of unethical recruitment agencies in the past, but a spokeswoman said its exposure to agents was relatively low compared to other universities.
"We recruit many of our international students through articulation arrangements with reputable universities under which they start their degree studies in their home country and then transfer to our university," she said.
"This helps us know they are genuine prospective students and we can monitor their progress before they arrive at the university."
Professor Young said the Australian government periodically issued ANU one of the lowest streamlined visa processing risk ratings in the sector.
"ANU works closely with its international agents to ensure that the university and our international agents are compliant with relevant Australian government legislation, and ensures the highest level of integrity and service is provided to the university and prospective students," he said.
Several academics on Four Corners raised concerns about the low threshold of English skills international students required.
UC was revealed to accept students with a reading level of eight out of 30 for the Test Of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) – one of the standards used to gauge student abilities – compared to the ANU's requirement of 20.
The figure was the lowest level compared to NSW universities, according to the ABC, but a UC spokeswoman refuted the claim saying its entry requirements were comparable to other institutions in the region.
The spokeswoman said the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) was another method students could use to demonstrate their proficiency and was the world's most popular English language test.
For UC's undergraduate courses, students must score an academic IELTS of 6.0 out of 9, which the spokeswoman said was equivalent to the overall score of the TOEFL assessing reading, listening, speaking, and writing out of 120.
Some health, education and law courses at the university had a higher IELTS score as did postgraduate courses and higher degree research courses.
Professor Young said, unlike other universities, the ANU's entry standards for international and domestic students were the same and were set and monitored away from the student recruitment and admissions department to minimise risk.
"English language standards for ANU are also at the highest end in the sector," he said.
"Any request for a waiver requires a case to come forward to one of the deputy vice-chancellors; these are very few and far between."
Both universities offer pathway programs for students who need further preparation before commencing their study or for those that fail to meet the English language requirements.