In late spring, news headlines flooded in with reports of celebrities bribing elite colleges to allow their children admittance. Since then, the college admissions scandal has continued to spark outrage concerning the ability for privileged students to scam their way into top-tier universities. Yet, new reports highlight how a large amount of students continue to swindle their way through university. The New York Times recently reported the growing demand in the “essay-for-hire” industry. This cryptic industry allows well-off American, and occasionally international students, to deceive their way through school by having low-income, overseas workers write college-level essays for them in exchange for pay. 

This “contract cheating” industry has nearly doubled in size since 2005 as demand continues to increase with many of the sites having the workers bid on assignments as they compete for money. The lucrative profession allows college students to be matched to an overseas worker willing to write an “original” and “non-plagiarized” essay in exchange for a suitable income that allows them to sustain their living. Many of the individuals writing these essays are doing so to support themselves and their families. 

While this industry is nonetheless unethical and a form of cheating, for many it is their only source of income. These students in developing nations are so desperate to find suitable sources of income that they are willing to become involved in an unethical practice, such as that of contract cheating, in order to maintain a minimal standard of living. According to the New York Times, many of these essay writers only make $300 during their best month, which is more money than each writer has ever made.

Ultimately, the contract cheating industry is causing more problems than it is solving. The American and international students who are paying for their work to be done by other individuals are merely cheating themselves of the privilege that is education. If students are unable to complete their own work, they do not deserve their degrees. These are the students who are cheating other deserving individuals from a spot at university, and they are selfishly wasting the time of the professors who read their work. Furthermore, these students jeopardize the integrity of other student’s work and devalue the level of education received by promoting a university that does not penalize the students who submit fraudulent work. Students buying their essays from this lucrative industry may be helping to support another individual, but they are also harming themselves by falling into a habitual routine of dishonesty and immoral actions. 

The writers who are creating these essays deserve the same educational opportunities as the disgraced students paying for them. Rather than having to submit to such an unethical practice of contract cheating, the countries involved in this lucrative business should be focusing on creating support for more educational opportunities to further improve the social and economic downcast for their people. Ultimately, the contract cheating industry temporarily solves a single student’s worry of not completing an assignment, but it creates a large deviation in the world’s economy and lack of social progression. Education is a privilege that should not be cheated by wealthy American students who have no concept of hard work. The students who are writing these essays deserve the spot at the university more than the crooked cheats who buy their way through school.

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