Battling Term-Paper Cheats

As more students turn to online paper mills for help, schools are fighting back with their own high-tech methods of detecting cheats. Are they overreacting?

Dave Wheeler for TIME

Illustration by Dave Wheeler charges a minimum of $9.95 per page for a custom-written essay. Rush jobs cost $24.95 a page. The site, which dutifully states that its papers should be used for "assistance purposes only"--uh-huh--guarantees that customers won't run into trouble with plagiarism or they'll get their money back and a free rewrite. There are hundreds of online paper mills like this one, catering to all the stressed-out, disaffected or just plain lazy students with Internet access and a credit card or money order. But just as the Internet has made it easier for kids to cheat, it's also helping...

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