EU student studying law in the UK claims to earn £15,000 a year ghostwriting for other students

Undergrad insists: 'If the students submit the work as their own, they are the ones committing academic deceit'

Aftab Ali
Student Editor
Wednesday 20 July 2016 14:37
As young people across the UK struggle to make ends meet, some students are taking risky measures to keep on top of soaring living costs
As young people across the UK struggle to make ends meet, some students are taking risky measures to keep on top of soaring living costs

As students across the country struggle to make ends meet amid rising living costs, some are finding that having a part-time job as well as a maintenance loan just isn’t cutting it when their monthly rent and basic living costs come around.

The dire state of student finances has been highlighted in this year’s National Student Money Survey from finance site Save the Student, which has found a staggering 80 per cent of students in the UK are worrying about making ends meet, with more than half finding their studies are suffering because of money concerns.

However, like many others, one respondent to the survey has admitted she will be taking on part-time work to fund her studies - only her plans involve writing essays and coursework for other students, something she claims will net her £15,000 over the course of this coming academic year.

Speaking to the survey, Marie*, an EU student studying law in Scotland, said she is aware her plans are “not ethical,” but insisted she has “no other choice” to pay for her own education. She said: “When I finish my own degree, I will probably have completed at least ten other full degrees at the same time. Others not only have the money to pay for their fees and living expenses, but are also able to afford paying for someone to else to do all the work for them.”

Helping other students to cheat their way through their course may seem like lucrative work, but it’s undoubtedly risky, yet, clearly, young people are finding it impossible to refuse. Not only has the survey revealed how many students are being consumed with worry over their finances - as more than half struggle to cope on the maintenance loan - but one in ten are actually taking risks like Marie to make extra cash, with one in ten also turning to betting, gambling, or using their bodies to make ends meet.

The revelation from the student has come in the same week cheating and plagiarism has been reported on; BBC Wales Today found plagiarism cases at Welsh universities have soared since 2010, while The Times conducted an investigation to find more than 1,700 student nurses have been caught cheating in the last three years - mainly by use of bespoke essay-writing services - a move which has “worrying implications for public health,” reported the site.

But while universities take the practice seriously, with the repercussions serious, Marie said ghostwriting was the only option for work that would fit around her studies - and that finding, or posting, jobs online is “easy.” She explained: “If you look at Gumtree, you will find many students all offering their ghostwriting services, and many agencies looking for freelance writers. I guess the agencies scoop off quite a bit of the profits, but beggars can’t be choosers.”

While the future lawyer saved enough for fees before her course started, her home country does not fund studying abroad, and she’s not eligible for UK funding even though “I have lived in the UK for many years, I have worked here, and paid a lot in taxes and NI.” She added: “I was promised other work at the university which then never came, due to budget cuts, so my meticulous financial planning before I commenced my studies didn’t work out.”

Marie reckons a staggering 90 per cent of the students she writes for are non-EU students, struggling with even basic English, as she revealed she’s written at least one Master’s degree from scratch, three PhD theses, and hundreds of essays and presentations. She said: “I also send emails on their behalf, participate in online modules, summarise their reading lists in simple language, and much more.

“I write custom essays. Most of the agencies I work for keep the copyright. If the students submit the work as their own, they are the ones committing academic deceit,” she maintained.

She continued: “It is important more people are aware of what is going on here. University is increasingly becoming a business in which the people who have a lot of money can just purchase their degrees, and the people who have the intelligence and talent fight for sheer survival.

“If I want to get into more serious research positions in which I can really use my skills, I will need a PhD myself, and this is the only way I have found to be able to achieve this goal.”

*Name has been changed

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