Essay mills: ‘One in seven’ paying for university essays

The BBC is reporting that more students than ever are paying someone else to write assignments for them via “essay mills”, a Swansea University study has revealed.

The survey of more than 50,000 students, found 15.7% admitted to cheating since 2014 – up from an average of 3.5% over the last 40 years.

It means about one in seven recent graduates have paid someone else to do their work for them – which could represent 31 million people worldwide. Essay mills are legal in the UK.

The study, undertaken by Prof Phil Newton, looked at information dating back 40 years and covered 54,514 participants from around the world.

But Prof Newton, director of learning and teaching at Swansea Medical School, suggested the number could be much higher, as students who have paid for essays to be written are far less likely to volunteer to take part in surveys on cheating.

“These findings underscore the need for legislation to tackle essay mills, alongside improvements in the way students are assessed and awareness-raising of the fundamentals of academic integrity,” he said.

They are banned in the United States and New Zealand, while other countries are actively developing legislation to tackle them.

Despite not being illegal, the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA), which monitors standards in higher education in the UK, said submitting an essay written by someone else is a form of plagiarism, and pupils could face expulsion from university if caught.

Read more Essay mills: ‘One in seven’ paying for university essays

Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin

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Categories: Further Education, Higher Education and University.


  1. Hello. Thanks for the interesting post. True, I do not quite agree. Yes, asking someone to do your job or pay for it, in principle, is not good. After all, a student, if he does not perform the tasks himself, does not learn anything. But, situations are different. Sometimes students simply can’t write on their own, and they just need help, because they need to pass the paper. Well, he does not understand what rhetorical analysis essay is and how it differs from, say, analytical. Therefore, he wants to learn more , therefore he is looking for information on the Internet, on the same writing services sites. The same applies to situations where tasks are too complicated, and there is not enough time to properly understand it.

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