Cheating in UK Universities On The Rise, Int’l Students Blamed


Almost 50,000 students in UK universities have been found to have cheated since 2013, with eleven universities having more than 1,000 students cheating on exams or being found guilty of plagiarism.

The worrying findings by THE Times reveal that non-EU students in the UK are four times more likely to cheat than their EU counterparts. The University of Kent was the institution with the most cheating students; nearly 2,000.

The British Times obtained data from 129 UK universities through a freedom of information request to the government. At Kent University, 1,947 students were caught cheating over the last three years, with the University of Westminster (1,933 students) and the University of East London (1,828 students) second and third, respectively.

Westminster and ten other universities in total had more than 1,000 incidents of academic misconduct over the last three years. Responding to the news of being the university with the most students engaging in academic misconduct, Kent told The Independent that the institution doesn’t tolerate plagiarism and that its plagiarism detection systems are ‘robust’.

The Times’ findings suggest that more than one in three (35%) cheating students is not from the European Union. However, this percentage accounts for just twelve percent of the entire student population, the information request revealed.

As the Guardian reports, nearly 8 in 10 postgraduate students at the Queen Mary University of London were not from the European Union, and more than one in three were from China. For the same three years, at Staffordshire University, more than 50 percent of the students caught cheating were classified as international students.

As Business Insider reports, the number of students resorting to online essay writing services is on the rise, which could explain the cheating crisis in Britain’s universities.

Geoffrey Alderman of the University of Buckingham told THE Times that plagiarism today is more sophisticated than the simple copy and paste witnessed in previous years:

“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.”

The Mirror says that in total five students tried to have another person sit their exams for them at the University of Kent. The Mirror also says that a total of 362 students were dismissed when found cheating.

Among the top offenders are the Sheffield Hallam University with 1,740 incidents of plagiarism and the University of Oxford Brookes with 1,711 events of academic misconduct over the last three years.

Academics, lecturers and even Ph.D. holders are working with these essay and dissertation companies that charge as much as thousands of dollars for their services for coursework answers to term essays, dissertations and Ph.D theses. More often than not, students resort to such services due to increased pressure to do well, an inability to keep up with their peers’ performance or because they simply don’t want to do the work.

The plagiarism epidemic seems particularly widespread outside the EU, as international students are four times more likely to cheat than their EU counterparts, THE Times report reveals.