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The Other College Student Cheating Scandal:  Essay-for-Hire – Paying to Have Someone Else Write Papers!

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Dear Commons Community,

Cheating is nothing new on college campuses, but the Internet now makes it possible to pay for others to write papers on a global, industrial scale.  It is estimated that millions of papers and essays are being written annually by individuals who get paid to do so by students. The industry is so vast that it provides enough income for some writers to make it a full-time job.  The New York Times had a featured article describing this  “essay-for-hire” scandal over the weekend. Here is an excerpt.

“Sleek websites — with names like Ace-MyHomework and EssayShark — have sprung up that allow people in developing countries to bid on and complete American homework assignments.

Although such businesses have existed for more than a decade, experts say demand has grown in recent years as the sites have become more sophisticated, with customer service hotlines and money-back guarantees. The result? Millions of essays ordered annually in a vast, worldwide industry that provides enough income for some writers to make it a full-time job.

The essay-for-hire industry has expanded significantly in developing countries with many English speakers, fast Iinternet connections and more college graduates than jobs, especially Kenya, India and Ukraine. A Facebook group for academic writers in Kenya has over 50,000 members…

…When such websites first emerged over a decade ago, they featured veiled references to tutoring and editing services, said Dr. Bertram Gallant, who also is a board member of the International Center for Academic Integrity, which has worked to highlight the danger of contract cheating. Now the sites are blatant.

“You can relax knowing that our reliable, expert writers will produce you a top quality and 100% plagiarism free essay that is written just for you, while you take care of the more interesting aspects of student life,” reads the pitch from Academized, which charges about $15 a page for a college freshman’s essay due in two weeks and $42 a page for an essay due in three hours.

“No matter what kind of academic paper you need, it is simple and secure to hire an essay writer for a price you can afford,” promises EssayShark.com. “Save more time for yourself.”

In an email, EssayShark’s public relations department said the company did not consider its services to be cheating, and that it warned students the essays are for “research and reference purposes only” and are not to be passed off as a student’s own work.”

And the dog ate my homework!

Tony

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