There may be another college cheating scandal looming on the horizon, and untold numbers of students may find themselves kicked out of their universities if their name comes up, Yahoo Finance is reporting. And that scandal is the existence and use of so-called “paper mills,” or as they’re sometimes referred to, “essay mills.”
For as long as students have been attending college, there have been those who are willing to pay money to have another person do some or all of their coursework for them. Stereotypically, that cheater is a barely-there athlete or a frat boy who would rather party than study. But as it turns out, an untold number of college students across the country are paying third parties to do their work for them.
Enter services known as “paper mills.” They are, essentially, a single person or a team of people who take money from college students and write their papers for them. And some of them advertise openly on the internet.
For example, one such group is called Moe’s Completion Services, which owner “Moe” says consists of himself and a team of other writers skilled in specific areas, who are able to churn out papers for cheating students.
“I have a math guy who does math, a nursing guy who does nursing, a writing guy who does writing.”
Last year 46 university vice chancellors wrote to Damian Hinds calling for “essay mill” websites to be banned, as they are in New Zealand and some US states https://t.co/8hTpoo55CQ
— The Times of London (@thetimes) March 12, 2019
Moe and his team, when approached by a student wanting them to write a paper for them, say they’ll work out a price and a timeline, generally something along the lines of $20 per page. He says that he alone makes about $15,000 per month from churning out papers, while his business, as a whole, makes about $21,000 per month.
However, Moe was circumspect about whether or not he thought his job was facilitating cheating.
“[The students] learn the things they need to learn and everything that I do is something that I don’t even need to read through it or think through it. Everything is in Google. Everything is there.”
Of course, at this point, it has to be said that if you get caught having another person do your college coursework, you will almost certainly be expelled from your university and will likely carry a blight on your academic record that would keep you from getting accepted even into a third-rate community college. It may even affect your future job prospects.
But is it legal?
In some states, no, but in most others, probably.
According to The Conversation, there’s no federal law against their use, and even if there were, there are two easy ways around such a law. For one thing, most such services insist that they are providing papers to the students to read and learn from, not to turn in. And for another, any federal law would simply push the services overseas.
The Conversation reports that 15 percent of college and university students admit to paying others to do at least some of their college coursework.