Universities take so little interest in their pop alumni that many are unaware of the stars who passed through their institutions.
Times Higher research shows that some of the most famous musicians attended university. But many marketing departments could not say whether any had studied at their campus.
Barry Taylor, director of marketing at Bristol University, said: "We're pretty clued up about our famous alumni in pop music. But while we know they can confer glamour on the place, we promote ourselves primarily on our academic strengths."
Others do not share such qualms. Hearing that they had jointly registered the most pop star alumni, a spokesperson at King's College London said: "At King's we rock. And we rock hard."