Students who PLAGIARIZE their work could end up with a CRIMINAL RECORD

Holly Smith·1 March 2017·3 min read
Students who PLAGIARIZE their work could end up with a CRIMINAL RECORD

NEW proposals by the government could see university students who plagiarise their work end up with a criminal record.

The controversial plan aims to crack down on students buying essays from internet providers, after a recent investigation by The Telegraph revealed more than 20,000 students are buying pre-written essays and dissertations online. Although it up to the individual institutions in the UK to deal with students who plagiarise, the plans could take this power out of their hands.

Universities minister Jo Johnson described the cheating as “unacceptable.”

Every university should have strong policies and sanctions in place to detect and deal with it,” Johnson said.

“Essay mill websites threaten to undermine the high quality reputation of a UK degree so it is vital that the sector work together to address this in a consistent and robust way.”

In 2016, it was reported by The Times that almost 50,000 students at British universities had been caught cheating in the past three years.


So-called essay mill websites have been increasing as an industry in the UK, but the new guidance, due to be implemented in September, is just one proposal being considered by the Department of Education.

Other penalties for cheating students could include fines and academic blacklists.

Lord Storey, who is pushing the practice to be made illegal, notes that in New Zealand, where essay mills were made illegal in 2011, there has been a considerable reduction in cheating.

The Quality and Assurance Agency, which regulates universities, have confirmed that over 100 essay mill websites offering online essay services for often high fees, are in operation.

The president of Universities UK, Dame Julia Goodfellow, said: “Universities have severe penalties for students found to be submitting work that is not their own. Such academic misconduct is a breach of an institution’s disciplinary regulations and can result in students, in serious cases, being expelled from the university.”