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OfS throws weight behind calls to close essay mills

The Office for Students has joined vice-chancellors in their war on companies that provide ready-made essays for students, as the universities minister put the ball back in higher education institutions’ court.

The 32 vice-chancellors joined figures such as Tim Bradshaw and Alistair Jarvis, the chief executives of the Russell Group and Universities UK respectively, in a letter to education secretary Damian Hinds on 27 September. The 45 signatories called for legislation against “so-called essay mills, companies that facilitate contract cheating by producing assignments-to-order for students”. Such cheating is hard to detect and increasing around the world, they warn.

Nicola Dandridge, chief executive of the Office for Students, said, “Essay mills are deeply unethical, and their operation is unfair on the vast majority of students who hand in their own work. The Office for Students has a central role to play in ending essay mills; universities and colleges wishing to register with us must demonstrate that they are protecting the reliability and credibility of degree standards.”

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