The University “Industry” – Paying for Professions, Parking and…Passes?

What has historically been revered as a place for educating our future workforce is slowly morphing into an opportunity for students to more or less “buy” their degree. The growing industry of cheating has become a major problem within our Australian universities. New reports reveal students who have plagiarized or bought another’s work have submitted “more than 900 assignments…from almost every university in NSW, turning over at least $160,000 in 2014″.

The acts of cheating may be defined as but not limited to: paying for pass marks, buying assessment answers or essays online, or even paying another student to sit your online tests. It was revealed by ABC’s Four Corners programme, that many of those who use these sites are international students who have fallen prey to claims of  ‘guaranteed marks’ for students who speak English as a second language.

As a result of these falsified marks, future professionals are less qualified than their predecessors – the epidemic also degrading the standards of performance in the education system. This poses a problem that will devastate professional integrity as international students between 2010-2013 have acquired 1,932 jobs in medicine alone.

In November last year, the Sydney Morning Herald first reported on the MyMaster essay scandal. The website targeted international students – allowing them to pay older students with existing qualifications to ‘ghost write’ their essays. Charging up to $1000 for a single essay, the popularity of this website since then has grown, and we can reveal that 1000 students from 16 universities have been recognised and penalised for the fraudulent activities.

NSW universities say they’re cracking down with harsh policies and repercussions such as fails, suspension, and expulsion, for those who bribe and cheat during their degree.