Who cheats and how in college

It’s hard to pull back the veil on cheating. No one’s really proud of it and, if it works, no one wants to talk about that either.

So the data from a survey of 2,000 students and 600 faculty at the University of Arizona deliver some pretty interesting insight into how it works.

The findings, discussed this week at a higher education conference, might have gone unnoticed if it weren’t for a reporter from Inside Higher Education, who wrote about it in detail today.

Some excerpts:

–84 percent of students believe students who cheat should be punished, yet two of every three admit to having cheated.

— The highest rates of cheating were among fraternity and sorority members and international students, the latter of whom were most likely to use technology to cheat.

— Cheating was reported least among students receiving need-based aid, and non-degree seeking and first-generation students. The more education a student’s parents had, the more likely he or she was to have cheated.

Maybe most interesting is the finding that students are “more likely to cheat out of perceived necessity than simply because they can get away with it.”

So, basically, students are cheating when they’re up against a wall — they’re close to being kicked out of school, losing a scholarship or seeing their grade point average drop — rather than simply cheating because they could.

There’s something oddly comforting about that last part.