College paid influencers to advertise levels regardless of by no means going there

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The travel and lifestyle blogger Mariana Alonso wrote an ad for Anglia Ruskin in Cambridge despite her engineering degree from a university in Brazil (Image: Instagram).

University bosses have admitted that they paid social media influencers to get high school graduates to enroll, even though some of them never went to college.

At least a dozen lifestyle, fashion and travel bloggers advertised the Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) in Cambridge on Instagram.

Many of the influencers raved about how important their time at university was, even though they had no real connection to the institution.

The promotions were shared on A-Level Results Day to attract students who had not received grades for their first choice and had to go through clearing.

Anglia Ruskin University paid social media influencers
Grace Bee, who has 5,764 followers, said her ad post for Anglia Ruskin was a “business transaction” (Image: Instagram).

One of the influencers promoting ARU was lifestyle blogger Mariana Alonso, who has 82,800 Instagram followers and an engineering degree from Faculdades Integradas de Cataguases in Brazil.

Travel blogger Lauren, who runs the Instagram account ‘Spain With Lauren’, has also promoted ARU to her 10,400 followers, but without mentioning that she studies there.

Meanwhile, lifestyle influencer Grace Bee, who has 5,764 followers, admitted she hadn’t graduated from ARU but said her advertisement was a “business transaction.”

She defended ad mail sharing as she only works with brands she believes in.

Anglia Ruskin University paid social media influencers
Travel blogger Lauren, who runs the ‘Spain With Lauren’ Instagram account, didn’t mention that she’s actually studying with Anglia Ruskin

A university spokesman said the campaign helped them reach out to underrepresented groups.

“We strongly believe in widening participation and a high percentage of our students are the first in their families to go to university,” they added.

‘Our Instagram partners talk about how their university experiences and qualifications have helped transform their own lives – sometimes in radical ways.

“These posts, all authored by the individuals themselves and clearly marked with an ‘Ad’ tag, focus on the broader benefits of a university education.”

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