Universities in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania are setting up a database of applicants to try to eradicate the use of forged documents.
Officials have detected 50 applicants who used forged certificates to win places on courses at Tanzania's Sokoine University of Agriculture.
Peter Msolla, the deputy vice-chancellor, said they were discovered when the university admissions office and Tanzania Examinations Council officials scrutinised A-level certificates.
Professor Msolla said the admissions were immediately revoked and the names of the culprits forwarded to the police. The university is contemplating publishing the names to deter others.
An administrator said: "We are verifying certificates for all our students and those caught having presented fake documents will be expelled."