Back in the day, cheating in school meant jotting down key concepts and answers on one's shirt cuff, glancing at another student's paper, or maybe bartering with a brainy friend who had essay-writing chops.
Now, it's an international affair—and it's big business.
Cheating at U.S. Colleges Spans International Borders
Composing research papers, writing essays, and even taking exams is particularly prevalent in the African nation of Kenya, where so-called “contract cheating” is an attractive proposition for recent grads who are highly educated but unemployed. That's because Kenya is an English-speaking country that places a great value on education—but simply doesn't have enough career opportunities to employ the nation's entry-level candidates.
The websites that offer such services are usually based in the U.S. or Europe. Ostensibly, they're in the business of “academic writing” or “educational assistance” or “online tutoring,” but in reality, what they provide is custom-written content in the form of an assignment given to a Western student halfway around the world. Their websites are full of carefully worded disclaimers that shore up a veneer of respectability—not to mention plausible deniability.
It's an informal industry but a thriving one. And it's becoming increasingly hierarchical; most of these papers come from “essay mills,” where an enterprising young Kenyan can open an account, advertise online, and then subcontract the actual writing work to someone else. The African nation is so impoverished that even after the websites and higher-level account holders take their cut, it's worthwhile for those who perform the grunt work.
While some Kenyans involved in contract cheating do express concerns that they're contributing to an unfair, even corrupt practice, others are simply too poor to care about the morality of their hustle. If the price is right, they're willing to not just write a term paper here and there, or log into a course website with the student's credentials to take a timed, online exam, but also to complete entire degrees.
That means there are plenty of Westerners in the workforce who have Bachelor's, Master's degrees, and even Ph.D.s that they didn't complete themselves.
Poor Choices Can Lead to Harsh Disciplinary Consequences
Of course, college students don't always make the wisest decisions, particularly traditional students who are on the young side—17 to 20 years old. Making mistakes, taking missteps, and learning life lessons from the consequences are, in fact, part of what the college experience is all about.
Additionally, given the high cost of a college or university education these days—at a whopping average of $35,720 per student per year—and the consequent pressure from family and society to succeed and earn a degree, the temptation to get a little help with difficult assignments is understandable.
There's no reason, though, that one poor decision should impact the remainder of your student experience, your career, or your private life. Additionally, academic disciplinary committees often come down hard on students whom they suspect of foul play in order to make examples of offenders.
If you've made a mistake at your university or college and are facing serious disciplinary action, you need a qualified attorney with experience in student disciplinary defense. Attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm have helped countless students across the United States fight for a fair process and the best possible outcome. Take a look at testimonials from grateful clients who were facing problems just like yours, or give us a call at 888-535-3686 to schedule a consultation.