Matt Forney
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college plagarism

How College Plagiarism Became a Massive Industry

Most people generally think that students go to college to work hard and learn. For many, college represents the final stage in their educational journey. After more than a decade of grade school, university is where students hone their critical thinking skills and master their chosen vocation, preparing them for a lifetime in the workforce. The increasing numbers of people going to college is seen as evidence of increased economic mobility and egalitarianism, allowing those who would have been stuck in the working class in years prior to move up in society.

However, there is a dark side to the increased popularity of college: the increasing popularity of plagiarism and cheating. An entire industry has cropped up around helping students cheat on their college essays, employing ghostwriters to write students’ papers for them and pass them off as their own work. Firms such as Peachy Essay rake in hundreds of thousands of dollars per year by providing these services.

College Cheating: Why is it So Prevalent?

Why have academic essay writing services become so popular in recent years? The answer can be seen in the changing demographics of college students. In the past, the only people who went to college were those who could afford it or those who sought to work in specific fields that required advanced knowledge. Because of this, plagiarism was far lower due to the college population being largely comprised of people who wanted to be there and were dedicated to their studies.

With the entrance of the general population into the university system, there are now many students who don’t care about learning and simply want to earn a degree as easily as possible. These students turn to essay mills because they aren’t interested in their studies and want to spend their college years partying and slacking off.

In addition to this, a large increase in foreign students is partially responsible for the popularity of plagiarism services. Many foreign students arrive at college woefully underprepared for the rigors of university study. A good portion of them cannot even speak English fluently. Essay mills help these students pass courses that they have been shunted into by their parents or society at large despite doing little to prepare them for the harshness of university life.

Finally, the Western emphasis on test scores and grades helps fuel much of the interest in essay services. GPAs are the final arbiter of a student’s achievement in college, and because of this, many students focus on earning high marks instead of actually learning material. It is possible for students to game the system by outsourcing their work to a ghostwriter instead of doing it themselves because both result in good grades, and as far as professors and employers go, grades are all that matter.

As an addendum to this, the increasing popularity of fly-by-night online colleges offering bunk degrees in business and the like is another motivator for plagiarism. Many students enrolled in these shady institutions are from lower income brackets and minority groups, working multiple jobs and raising families, and they often turn to essay services because they lack the time to do their own work and they are ill-prepared to deal with the exploitative nature of these “universities.”

How Pervasive is College Plagiarism?

College authorities have downplayed the popularity of plagiarism services because their mere existence as a multi-million dollar industry directly hurts the credibility of professors and administrators. While hard facts are hard to come by, anecdotal observations suggest that as many as half of all students have used a ghostwriter at some point. This is despite most colleges having a zero-tolerance policy for plagiarism, threatening failing grades and expulsion for students who engage in it.

The reason why plagiarism is so prevalent is because college professors and administrators turn a blind eye to it. Universities have become a multi-billion dollar industry in the U.S. and other countries, and colleges are more concerned with profiting off students through loans and other fees than actually educating them. Expelling students for plagiarism means that colleges will make less money.

Make no mistake: professors, TAs, and administrators are well-aware of endemic cheating at their institutions. When foreign students who barely speak English turn in well-written and well-argued essays, even a blind man can see what’s going on. They don’t do anything about it because they want to continue making money off those students, because the higher educational system in the U.S. and other countries is corrupt to the core.

The Future of College Plagiarism

Governments so far have had a tepid response to essay mills. While some countries and local jurisdictions have outlawed plagiarism services, these laws are very rarely enforced, and many essay mills have legally rebranded in order to get around them. The U.K. government has recently begun pressuring PayPal to ban essay mills from using their platform, but drastic action has yet to be taken on any level.

The simple reality is that as long as the existing higher education model exists, plagiarism will remain profitable. Universities stand to lose financially by enforcing their plagiarism penalties or lowering their acceptance rates, meaning that they will continue to turn a blind eye to the monumental amounts of cheating their students are engaging in.

Ultimately, only a significant reform of the educational system, emphasizing knowledge over credentials and lowering the educational barriers to joining the workforce, will end essay mills for good. The burgeoning student loan crisis in the U.S. will likely force this reconfiguration by inflicting severe financial pain on both lenders and students. Until society takes a good, hard look at the corruption of higher education, essay mills such as Peachy Essay will continue to make a killing off of the laziness and dishonesty of college students.

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