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These prices suggest the essay mills are making a good profit.Mr Hickford – who worked from home and never communicated directly with any of his clients – was paid about £50 per 1,000 words in cases where he was required to completely rewrite an essay or dissertation.
“It is identifying people who are in need and struggling,” he says.
“It appears to be offering them a service, but it is not helping them.” The exact number of students who cheat by purchasing written academic work is difficult to ascertain.
That means about one in seven recent graduates may have paid a third party to do their written work for them.
The penalties imposed by universities on anyone found to have passed off someone else’s work as their own are severe.
The use of “essay mills”, as these agencies are known, is on the rise according to reports, and in the UK – where they are perfectly legal – universities want the government to intervene.
Essay Writing For Uk Universities
In September, more than 40 university chiefs wrote to the Education Secretary calling for a ban on essay mills amid fears that they are compromising the integrity of degree courses.“You will not get caught,” he says bluntly, adding that his company’s essays are “ready to submit”.The claim that essay mills have a roster of experts in every imaginable field – the websites make frequent references to Ph D students – is contradicted by Mr Hickford’s experiences.“I never found out how anyone I helped did – they could all have failed for all I know,” he says. I could never attach a face to the work I was doing.” He parted ways with the agency at the end of last year and now works as a freelance journalist and in the charity sector.“I gradually became aware that it was all a bit dodgy, even though it wasn’t illegal,” he says.But under the current system, essay mills are legal and universities are the only gatekeepers against a growing tide of plagiarised work.There are several lines of defence against the cheats.“All you need to do is add your name and uni in the paper and everything will be fine,” says Josh.“I can only guarantee that you will not get caught.” A similar message is conveyed by Kevin (not his real name) at another writing mill offering its services online.By Florence Snead and Richard Jinman Sam Hickford was rewriting a 12,000-word masters thesis on a branch of physics called plasmonics when he began to question the morality of his part-time job.“On the one hand, I really needed the money and I enjoyed the new vocabulary I was learning,” says the 25-year-old, who spent three years working for an organisation that offered to “edit” students’ essays and, if necessary, completely rewrite them.