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Universities catch almost 50,000 student cheats

Nearly 50,000 university students have been caught cheating in the last three years, according to figures which also suggest non-EU scholars are the most likely to commit the offence.

Students from outside the EU were four times more likely to cheat in exams and coursework essays, freedom of information data obtained by the Times found.

The figures, from 129 UK universities, revealed 362 students were dismissed because of cheating, making up 1% of those found guilty of misconduct.

Eleven institutions each caught 1,000 or more students cheating over the three-year period, with Kent University finding the most guilty, at 1,947. Five students were caught arranging for someone else to sit their exams.
Non-EU students made up 35% of cases but accounted for just 12% of the student population, requests from 70 universities showed.

At Queen Mary University of London, 75% of postgraduates found guilty of plagiarism were from abroad, with a third from China.

One professor said he believed the use of professional essay writers, whose services are widely available on the internet, was on the rise.

Geoffrey Alderman of the University of Buckingham told the paper: “What I’d call type-1 plagiarism, copying and pasting, is on the wane because it’s so easy to detect. But my impression is that type-2 cheating, using a bespoke essay-writing service, is increasing.”

Such services can charge hundreds of pounds for essays, dissertations and model exam answers written by professional lecturers up to doctorate level.

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The five universities which caught the highest number of cheats are:

  • Kent 1,947
  • Westminster 1,933
  • East London 1,828
  • Sheffield Hallam 1,740
  • Oxford Brookes 1,711


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