Universities catch over 50,000 cheats - worst offenders revealed

A freedom of information request has found that nearly 50,000 students studying in the UK have been caught cheating in the last three years. The figures, obtained by the Times, also suggest that students from outside the EU were four times more likely to cheat in exams and coursework essays.

Of the 50,000 students who were caught cheating, 362 students were dismissed for misconduct.

Use of professional essay writers "on the rise"

One professor said he believed the use of professional essay writers was on the rise.

Geoffrey Alderman, a professor at the University of Buckingham, told the Times: “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.”

Professional essay writing services generally charge hundreds of pounds for essays, dissertations and model exam answers written by professional lecturers and even write up to doctorate level.

The universities with the most cheats

Eleven institutions caught over 1,000 students cheating, with Kent University finding the most guilty, at 1,947. Of the 129 universities investigated, the universities with the most caught cheaters were:

5) Oxford Brookes 1,711

4) Sheffield Hallam 1,740

3) East London 1,828

2) Westminster 1,933

1) Kent 1,947

It is unclear whether this is because cheating is more rife at these universities, or because these universities have better systems in place to catch cheaters in the act.

Non-EU students "the worst offenders"

Non-EU students made up 35% of cases of cheating, 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.

Exam takers for hire

Five students were caught arranging for someone else to sit their exams on their behalf. It is unknown whether these "for hire exam sitters" show up in full disguise, or whether you have to provide your own fake moustache and wig.