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As the UK's independent body safeguarding quality and standards in higher education, QAA works with sector agencies, government departments, regulators, politicians and academics with expertise in academic misconduct to protect academic integrity and prevent cheating and fraud.
Academic misconduct presents a threat to the world-class reputation of UK higher education. Students who cheat risk their academic and future careers.

The implications go far wider than higher education. Cheating in higher education is a societal problem. Students who cheat can enter the workforce without the necessary skills, knowledge and competency, with potential public health and safety implications.

While we are concerned about all forms of cheating in higher education, we have a particular interest in essay mills, commercial entities that make money by encouraging students to cheat. 


Academic Integrity Advisory Group


QAA also runs an Academic Integrity Advisory Group made up of expert academics, sector agencies, organisations and individuals working to protect academic integrity, and student representatives. UK governments, regulators and funders sit as observers. Find out more about the Academic Integrity Advisory Group.


Contracting to Cheat in Higher Education: How to Address Essay Mills and Contract Cheating (Second edition)

Publication Date: 18 Jun 2020

Contracting to Cheat in Higher Education: How to Address Contract Cheating, the Use of Third-Party Services and Essay Mills (First edition)

Publication Date: 09 Oct 2017

Plagiarism in Higher Education - Custom essay writing services: an exploration and next steps for the UK higher education sector

Publication Date: 20 Aug 2016


A paper on academic integrity was presented by QAA at the 13th European Quality Assurance Forum (EQAF) in November 2017.

ASA ruling

In 2017, QAA successfully lodged a complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) against the essay mill company UK Essays