London Metropolitan University
London Metropolitan University offers a wide range of courses, from undergraduate and postgraduate degrees to short courses and professional qualifications. With a rich history and strong educational roots dating back to 1848, the University is proud of their vibrant, multi-ethnic and socially diverse community. The University admits around 10,000 higher-education students each year, from around 140 different nationalities, and runs across three main sites in Holloway, Aldgate and Shoreditch.
Historically, across the UK, most universities, including London Metropolitan, have relied on face-to-face enrolment with students coming into a central location to go through various processes, including identity and document checks and issuing of their student identity card. However, the global pandemic and the closing of university campuses presented a new challenge for student enrolment in September 2020.
Without being able to see new students in person, the University needed an alternative way to carry out remote identity checks and ensure that the person applying for a course and submitting an identity document matched the holder.
In mid-2020, the University’s enrolment team, led by David Hood, started to research the market for an online identity verification service. Following a mini-tender process across a short-list of companies, they chose the TrustID Cloud service with face matching.
“Based on how their website was presented and how they articulated what they did, TrustID jumped out to me as a frontrunner and when they responded to our tender, they fit the bill perfectly!” explains David.
Flexible document capture
Today, London Metropolitan use the TrustID Cloud service to capture and assess the authenticity of global identity documents presented by their applicants. Using the online service, the University sends ‘Guest Link’ emails to students enrolling on courses, asking them to upload an image of their identity document and take a ‘selfie’. Students can access the link using a smartphone or tablet and upload the relevant documents at a time that suits them and from wherever in the world they are applying.
The service compares a student’s selfie against the photo on their identity document and runs it through a passive liveness detection test. This verification process ensures that the selfie was taken by a live person and the applicant is the same person as the document holder.
David explains “The face biometrics means we can verify that the photo on a person’s identity matches the photo submitted of the applicant. We can then also print a student’s ID card correctly before they arrive on campus. We don’t have to worry about bringing students in to do face-to-face transactions and it gives us an extra layer of security when checking documents”.
Preventing fraudulent applications
Since introducing the TrustID document verification service, London Metropolitan have been able to prevent one fraudulent case where a student was trying to apply to a course using fraudulent identification. David adds “If we were doing checks face to face, we wouldn’t have picked up on the fraudulent document and may well have enrolled that student. Online checking now actually feels safer!”
A collaborative partnership
TrustID and London Metropolitan University worked closely together to ensure that the project was delivered within the necessary timescales and to best fit the needs of the enrolment team.
“While working with us, TrustID launched a new interface, a new website, and new services.” David adds “We worked very closely on certain tweaks and developments on their system and services, giving feedback which would benefit us and other higher education customers”.
TrustID identity verification has given London Metropolitan University an effective remote verification option for their student onboarding process. As the technology is accessible for applicants from anywhere, thanks to the Guest Links feature, students can upload identity documents at a time to suit them and from wherever they are based. The addition of face matching also gives the team confidence that the documents that they are seeing belong to the holder and help with the creation of student identity cards, without meeting applicants face-to-face.
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