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Stop supporting essay mills, Education Secretary tells PayPal

Date: March 20 - 2019

The Education Secretary has today pledged to 'beat the cheats' at university.

Damian Hinds MP is calling on online platforms to help tackle the use of essay writing services, particularly singling out 'online giant' PayPal.

QAA wrote to six of the biggest online platforms at the end of last year, including PayPal, asking them to stop doing business with essay writing companies.

In response to today's announcement, QAA Chief Executive Douglas Blackstock said:

'We applaud the government for putting pressure on these powerful platforms to stop doing business with essay cheat companies, making it increasingly difficult for them to find an audience for the unscrupulous services that damage reputations and lives.

'The UK has a world-leading reputation for the standards and quality of its higher education and we are not going to let these companies undermine it. Companies that try to entice students to buy so-called plagiarism free essays pose a real threat to the academic integrity of our higher education.'

As well as calling on online platforms to stop promoting and facilitating access to essay mills, Mr Hinds is asking higher education providers to consider ‘honour codes’, which would see students sign a pledge not to use essay writing services for their own assignments.

A study by Professor Phil Newton of Swansea University found that up to one in seven students since 2014 have admitted to paying someone else to write their assignments.

'Sadly, there have always been some people who opt for the easy way and the internet has seen a black market in essay writing services spring up,' said Mr Hinds in today's statement.

'I am determined to beat the cheats who threaten the integrity of our system and am calling on online giants, such as PayPal, to block payments or end the advertisement of these services – it is their moral duty to do so.'