As online education grows, the fraudulent business is booming

Nairobi — Growth in online university degrees has increased opportunities for American students to outsource their studies, and billions of dollars of fraud are growing rapidly, especially in East African country Kenya.

Many poor young people in Kenya invest heavily in education, but find it difficult to find a job after studying. They look for ways to support themselves after school and enter a business that helps American students cheat.

“You can’t steal, you have to do something for yourself,” William, a young man working in the fraud industry in Kenya, told . He requested not to use his real name in our report.

William pays an account on the US website to connect with American students and then entrusts cheating to other Kenyan writers. He earns over $ 2,000 a month, but says he’s ashamed to work in the “essay for hiring” industry.

“It really isn’t something you should be proud of, it tells people to help you deceive others,” he said.

How does it work?

Reputable US websites with names like “Essay Jed II” offer legitimate services such as academic support, tutoring, and research. However, some American students use these sites to keep in touch with Kenyan writers and study from a one-time essay to a college degree.

American students pay $ 20 to $ 50 for pages of works written by Kenyan writers in a process known as “contract fraud.” Account holders like William usually cut 75% of their profits and then subcontract some of their work to other writers who earn only $ 5 per page.

Contract fraud is illegal in 17 states, but it is not illegal at the federal level and enforcement is rare.

In a statement, the US Department of Education said, “We are not allowed to control matters related to the curriculum or academic policy of educational institutions.” Instead, “Distance Education Regulations carry out a process of establishing a federal-approved accreditation body that all students enrolled in a distance learning course or program are the same as those enrolled in the course or program. These standards and processes help educational institutions identify cases of academic fraud. Accreditation bodies can review these policies. ”

The website EssayJedII states, “The delivered product is considered a research service and / or the original sample and should not be used as a completed treatise for further submission by an institution, but because it is owned by the consumer. No further use can be controlled or restricted. Copyright. “They said they were” unpleasantly surprised “when they heard that their platform could be used for fraudulent activity, and the verification process. Said to work on strengthening.

William, who had a hard time paying rent before starting to work in the fraud industry, says he got a full degree for some of his clients.

“I got a degree (of one student), and now I have his master’s degree,” he told . “He promised me a PhD too.”

“We believe our doctor has been to medical school.”

“I think the situation of fraud at the university is serious and I think it’s getting worse,” Mary Washington University ethics professor David Rettinger told .

He said cheating is problematic because it means that people can graduate from a degree program without actually having a qualification in their field.

“We believe our doctors have been to medical school,” Rettinger said. “Cheating leads us to global social corruption, because it leads to having professional executives who can’t actually do the work they claim to be able to do.”

After graduating from high school in Nairobi, when she couldn’t find a job, Joan demanded that she not use her real name in our report, she said in a wide range of courses for some US students. Of the subject who said he was doing the whole thing.

“Yesterday I gave a controversial essay on emotional support animals, and I also did research on the invention of insulin,” she told .

“They only have names, but then we have skills.”

Among them, Joan and William say they have allowed American students to cheat everything from American history to engineering to medicine. They say fraudulent demands come from everywhere, from small online colleges to major state colleges.

William says he wants to quit his cheating job, but with so many Kenyans living in terrible poverty, he has more graduates waiting to replace him. I will say.

“They only have names, but then we have the skills,” says William in all the academic work he has done. “We have the knowledge and experience.”

As online education grows, the fraudulent business is booming

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