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Government to crack down on students buying pre-written essays online


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The UK government will crack down on students buying essays from 'essay mill' websites, it has announced.

This comes after the Telegraph revealed last month that more than 20,000 students are paying between £15 and £6,750 (in the case of a PhD dissertation) online for someone else to write their essay for them. 

Universities Minister Jo Johnson said that "tough action" was needed on this practice, which "threatens to undermine the high quality reputation of a UK degree".

The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education will consult with the government and universities over the best way to stamp out the difficult-to-detect form of cheating.  

New punishments may include fines, academic blacklists or even criminal records.

Lord Storey, who is leading the effort to criminalise essay mill websites, said that "rich students" are "paying their way" to a top degree. 

The criminalisation of essay mill websites seemed to work in New Zealand, as the country reported a subsequent drop in cheating.

The new measures will be implemented at the start of the new academic year in September. 

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