In the wake of the Varsity Blues scandal, it shouldn’t come as a terrible surprise that some American college students are, um… less-than-honest.
According to a recent report from The New York Times, so many American college students rely on other people to write their essays that they’ve spawned a global industry of “essay mills.”
So, what’s an essay mill?
Essay mills are websites that allow unscrupulous students to pay other people to write their papers.
It works like this: A hungover American college student logs on to a website like EssayShark.com, describes the type, length, and deadline of the paper they need written, and pays the company to get the paper done.
Then, the website farms out the assignment to a global network of writers — mostly people in Kenya, India, and Ukraine (Kenyan writers can earn $2k per month — more than the country’s average annual income).
One service, Academized, charges $15 per page for essays due in 2 weeks — but spikes its rate sharply to $42 per page for essays that are due in 3 hours (even cheaters pay for procrastination, apparently).
But… is this allowed?
Contract cheating is illegal in 17 US states, but no federal law makes it illegal to buy an essay — and state laws designed to prevent cheating are rarely enforced.
Services like Turnitin.com offer software to help schools detect plagiarism. But, because essays that come from these essay mills are usually original, they are still nearly impossible to detect.
So, platforms that offer essay-writers-for-hire — EssayShark, Academized, Ace-MyHomework — continue to brazenly offer what they call “academic assistance.”