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Academic cheating: When is cheating a crime?

Cheating is fairly commonplace in schools. When you think about those attending college, they may range in age anywhere from around 16 to 22. There are people younger and older as well.

For the most part, teens and young adults still have some growing up to do. Sometimes, they make bad decisions. They may decide to cheat on school tests or to have someone else write an application essay for them. Unfortunately, the reality is that some kinds of cheating can actually lead to criminal consequences.

Is cheating a crime in college?

Sometimes, cheating is a crime. For example, if you cheat by bribing a professor with money or something else they want, then that could be a punishable offense. Cheating on an SAT or ACT test and applying to a college could lead to accusations of fraud.

The average student isn’t cheating in a way that is going to result in criminal prosecution, but when the cheating impacts the school by defrauding it or involves bribery, there is a real risk that criminal charges could follow for anyone who is caught.

What happens to students who cheat in college?

It depends on the kind of cheating and the specific situation. Many students who are caught cheating are given warnings or suspended. Some will be kicked out of their programs or from the school entirely. The school may choose to pursue disciplinary action or, in some cases, criminal charges.

Around 35% of teens have admitted to cheating on tests, and around three out of four online students cheat on their exams. It’s not surprising that students are trying to get better grades, but cheating hurts the academic integrity of the school. Students who cheat may end up graduating without getting caught, but then they may be more likely to get into trouble in their careers.

If you find out that your child has bribed a professor, plagiarized, stolen intellectual property to use it as their own for an exam or has committed some other crime related to their schooling, it’s a good idea to look into the legal protections available to them.

J. Emmette Pilgreen IV
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