Cases of plagiarism at universities are on the rise. Russell Group universities have been deemed the worst culprits, with cases of plagiarism at Newcastle University having doubled over a one-year period. Instances rose from 34 to 64 cases in 2016/17 to the previous year.
As pressure at university intensifies and fees increase, getting good results feels more important than ever. Interestingly, a Chronicle investigation found that foreign students are amongst those most likely to pay for first-class essays. Due to struggles with language barriers, international students are paying around £80 for a first-class 1,000-word essay. This might not seem like a huge sum of money, but when considering that most final year essays are around 3,000-4,000 words long, this means students could be paying hundreds of pounds to get the highest grades. Other prices start from around £20, although combined with other university expenses this can put students at a great financial risk.
Harry, a second year History student said, “It’s disappointing that some people can afford to buy good grades. I’ve achieved firsts through hard work and the fact that people can just pay for it sort of devalues the achievement.”
Furthermore, when caught, it jeopardises their place at university. Turnitin, a system adopted by most universities for students to submit essays, compares every piece of work with those submitted by students from universities across the globe.
The organisations providing these fraudulent essays have stated that they merely provide model answers from which students are only meant to mimic the structure or writing style, rather than content itself.
According to writers who provide students with essays, they can produce over ten a week during busy periods – a profit of £3,200 a month.
One website guaranteed results for students, stating ““We can assure you it is not cheating and there is no reason you will get caught – none of the customers we have written essays for has ever been caught.”
“Having been students ourselves, we understand how strenuous student life can be.”
“Increasingly difficult subjects, surmounting pressures, pressing deadlines, juggling part-time jobs, unreasonable demands from unrelenting tutors in expecting extensive research in a short time, can all lead to performance anxiety.”
Students have been warned by the university to avoid any such websites as evidence of plagiarism could lead to immediate expulsion.