After wealthy students in top-tier colleges in the United States were revealed to be paying their way to the top, a new investigation by MailOnline has revealed British students cheating their way to PhDs by paying companies thousands of pounds to write their dissertations for them.
In an exclusive MailOnline investigation, ‘Essay mill’ firms were revealed to be offering to write entire theses on demand, ‘You just need to write your name on the top’.
Three companies, King’s Academic Help, PhD Dissertation and British Dissertation Editors, said they would sell PhD dissertations for between £2,559 and £6,173, with higher fees demanded for better grades.
A consultant for King’s Academic Help said, “We will write the complete dissertation from scratch. Once you will receive the work, all you will have to do is write your name on it and submit it to your mentor.”
He added, “My writer will be working on your dissertation according to your level of education, as well as the standard of work that you are looking for from us. So it’s impossible that your instructor will find out that someone else has written your work.”
He claimed that King’s Academic Help has 70-75 staff working in its Mayfair office, but the address was found to be a virtual mail service.
The investigation further revealed that the company sells essays to more than 12,000 British students a year, claiming that around 50 of its PhD clients are from Oxford and Cambridge.
The universities have denied this claim.
A consultant for British Dissertation Editors said a dissertation cost from £2,800 to £3,982, depending on the customer’s preference. The consultant further claimed that her firm was the largest in the industry with more than 100 academics on the payroll.
Meanwhile, the staff working for PhD Dissertation said that their company handled more than 100 orders a day, out of which 15 to 20 are postgraduate dissertations.
The UK dissertation scandal weeks after colleges in US were shown to accept bribes from the elite, including Hollywood actors Felicity Huffman, Lori Loughlin and business executives in the largest college admissions scandal in country’s history.
The $25 million scandal involved getting students into elite, highly selective universities such as Georgetown University, Stanford University and Yale University by paying bribes and cheating the admissions process. It relied on bribes to coaches, phoney test takers and even doctored photos misrepresenting non-athletic applicants as elite competitors to gain admissions for the offspring of rich parents.
According to Dr Thomas Lancaster, a senior fellow at Imperial College London who specialises in academic integrity and contract cheating said that the UK dissertation scandal is just the tip of the iceberg.
“The industry is worth hundreds of millions of pounds globally, and tens of millions in Britain,” he said. “Kenya is the hotbed where all the writing happens. There is high unemployment and a job working from home is coveted. They have good English and low overheads.”
A spokesman for Oxford University said, “Use of essay-writing services is strictly prohibited at Oxford and directly contravenes the University’s disciplinary policy. We offer a range of resources for students warning of the dangers of all forms of plagiarism, including use of essay mills.”