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Posted on May 14th, 2011, by

Byline: Jody Harrison

PARENTS are paying up to $1,500 a time to download pre-written essays from the Internet to help their student children pass degree courses.

Worryingly, many of the papers intended to be examples for use as study aids are then submitted as the young persons own work.

In some cases, parents were buying them as Christmas presents, according to online custom essay service.

The company, which provides high-quality essays for students to use as study guides, said it was contacted on numerous occasions before and during the festive period by middle-class parents looking for material that would ease their children’s workload.

In one case, a mother was refused service when she asked for numerous pieces ofworkcosting thousands of poundsand told the company she intended to rewrite them for her son.

A customer survey carried out by the Nottingham-based firm found that, of the6,000 essays it sold last year, 9 per cent around 550 were to students north of the Border.

A spokesman for UKessays.com said: Our survey showed that 50 per cent of our essays are being purchased for a son or daughter, with around 90 per cent of those customers coming from a middle-class background.

We even had to turn down one multiple order because the parent claimed she would rewrite all of the essays so that her son could simply hand them in as his own in January.

Some parents have even confessed on the phone that the custom essays are going to be gifts for Christmas.

The survey revealed that students at the University of Dundee bought the most bespoke essays north of the Border, with 176almost a third of the Scottish total sold to aid in coursework there last year. The University of Glasgow came second with 144 essays sold to students there, while 117 pieces of work went to those studying at the University of Aberdeen.

The practice of copying material from the Internet, or having essays written for a fee, has been growing in recent years at universities in Scotland.

Last year Aberdeen, St Andrews, Dundee and Robert Gordon universities introduced software that scans submitted essays and highlights passages that have been lifted from websites.

But despite the measures, plagiarism is still on the rise, with bespoke essays particularly difficult to identify.

Last year, Glasgow University caught 107 students copying material a rise of nearly 50 per cent since 2004.

A spokesman for the university said last night: We take all forms of cheating extremely seriously and have a rigorous monitoring system in place.

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