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Does the Pressure to Get a College Degree Encourage Cheating?

A recent article in The Atlantic shows how cheating has bridged the gap from classroom to computer in colleges today:

"Today, entrepreneurs and freelancers openly advertise services designed to help students cheat their online educations. These digital cheaters for hire will even assume students’ identities and take entire online classes in their place."

Author Derek Newton checked into one company in particular called “No Need to Study,” and found that for a little over $1,000 he could hire a professional stand-in to do the course work and earn a decent grade. Newton continues:

"No Need to Study even has handy reference videos that ostensibly show satisfied clients sharing how easy it was to pay someone else to take their online classes. My favorite is a video from a client named Muhammad who explains that he hired the company to complete his math lab courses for him. He’d taken these classes before, he notes, but 'the quizzes were just way to difficult' so he searched for a solution. 'They got it done, and they did really, really well,' he continues. 'They absolutely killed my final math and app classes with a 90 percent, and I can definitely tell you I never got a 90 percent before on anything.'"

The article goes on to describe the cheating safeguards that many colleges implement in online courses, but wonders whether or not the eagerness to enroll more and more individuals in higher education will eventually diminish these cheating checks.

Unfortunately, there will likely always be cheating in school, regardless of whether or not the medium is the classroom or the computer. And there are many ways to explain the seeming increase in cheating, not the least of which is an apparent decline in general morals. But is it possible that America’s push to get every student into college could be driving an increase in cheating?

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