This year's IDOA - International Day of Action Against Contract Cheating is October 20, 2021.  

Sign up today to participate in the Sixth Annual International Day of Action Against Contract Cheating by using the form on the right and watch this page for future announcements about IDOA events.


Get creative and enter your IDOA meme into this year's contest

Calling all students and educational institutions! It's time to brush up on your meme skills and get creative!  

The International Center of Academic Integrity (ICAI) is sponsoring the International Day of Action Against Contract Cheating Student Meme Contest. The purpose of the contest is to generate works that may be used either this year or in future years to promote the event and provide students the opportunity to share their opinions about the threat contract cheating poses to the higher education experience and the overall importance of academic integrity. 

Submissions must be received by 4 p.m. EST on Friday, Oct 15, 2021, so we can announce the top three cash prize winners on Oct. 20.

Read the contest rules and submission details


Want to be involved in this year's IDOA?

Are you a student (or know of a student or students) who wants to be a part of the IDoA and work with other students around the world? If so, please email Amanda McKenzie.


What Is Contract Cheating

Although it has been defined in different ways, contract cheating is best described as the “outsourcing of student work to third parties” (Lancaster & Clarke, 2016, p. 639).

Contract cheating can happen through “family and friends; academic custom writing sites; legitimate learning sites (eg. file sharing, discussion and micro-tutoring sites); legitimate non-learning sites (eg. freelancing sites and online auction sites); paid exam takers; and pre-written essay banks” (Ellis, Zucker, & Randall, 2018, p. 2)

The act of contract cheating, and its associated behaviors: undermines learning; erodes learning environments; damages learning relationships; places the student, the faculty/teacher, the educational organization, and society at risk from students who will graduate with knowledge gaps; undeserved academic awards; and a propensity to engage in dishonest behaviors in their professional careers (Guerroro-Dib, Portales, & Heredia-Escorza, 2020; Harding, Carpenter, Finelli, & Passow, 2004; Lancaster, 2020).

For current information on contract cheating, and strategies to prevent contract cheating and promote academic integrity in learning environments,  check the Quality Assurance Agency UK’s online report titled Contracting to Cheat in Higher Education and the Tertiary Education Quality Education Standards (Australia) web page.


IDOA Twenty in 20 Global Conversations on Contract Cheating Videos

Watch the IDOA Twenty in 20 Global Conversations on Contract Cheating Videos Here:

Part One 

Part Two

Part Three



View Dr. Thomas Lancaster’s September 21 Webinar, “Taking Action Against Contract Cheating”


Statement against Contract Cheating 

Since 1992, the International Center for Academic Integrity (ICAI) has worked with academic communities around the globe to promote a culture of academic integrity and discourage academic misconduct.  Since ICAI’s founding, contract cheating, defined below, has emerged as a world-wide concern. 

“The term contract cheating describes the form of academic dishonesty where students get academic work completed on their behalf, which they then submit for academic credit as if they had created it themselves.” (

Members and leaders of ICAI work on the front lines with students, instructors, and educational institutions to uphold the integrity of the degrees and certificates their institutions confer.  

In the past, contract cheating was often accomplished student-to-student. Now, in addition to this avenue, we (the members and leaders of ICAI) are seeing students turn to online companies advertising to “help” a student, when in fact, they undermine teaching and learning. Here are a few examples of this: 

  • Students look to internet sites for the exact question/problem/scenario given to them by their instructors.
  • If the student is unable to find the question/problem/scenario, they post the exact (or very similar) question(s) online for someone to answer.
  • Students copy the provided answer directly from the online source without spending time to understand it or check it for errors.
  • Students attempt to hide their online activities from institutional authorities by not making their name visible or by logging into “help” sites in a way that cannot be tied to their educational institution ID.

While the behavior of students is concerning, the behaviors exhibited by the so-called “helping” or “tutoring” websites are more concerning still.  The following are examples of such behaviors:

  • Allowing students to register with a non-institutional identifying email – in essence allowing them to hide or make it more difficult for educational institutions to know who has viewed or posted information.
  • Creating hurdles for educational administrators and instructors who are trying to get information about the posts and/or remove posts of copyrighted materials.
  • Requiring educational administrators and instructors to buy an account to monitor the illegal posting of copyrighted or otherwise prohibited materials, to check if academic assignments and tests have been shared, and to determine who shared these materials and who has accessed them, both of which are academic offences. 
  • Blackmailing students by threatening to notify their educational institutions that the student has been accessing unauthorized materials or assistance.

Especially on this day, the International Day of Action Against Contract Cheating, ICAI is taking a stand to say that these behaviors are wrong and do not create the culture of academic integrity that we as an association and our members strive for. 

We ask our members and other educational providers worldwide to take a stand as well.  This can be seen in a variety of ways:

  1. Blocking various internet sites that claim to “help” students but that promote academic misconduct and fraud
  2. Creating strong syllabus statements telling students to avoid these sites and let students know that even looking at them for course help could be an academic offense.
  3. Talking to students about the difference between looking at an answer online and understanding the thought process necessary to generate the answer, which is the goal of learning.
  4. Creating and/or promoting a wide variety of resources (i.e., writing workshops, tutoring centers, counseling services etc.) for students to support their academic success and maintain academic integrity.
  5. Developing course assignments and examinations that are resistant to cheating of any kind.

We also ask online companies to change their behavior, too, by:

  1. Ensure that all users are registered through their institutional email.
  2. Require all users to sign a pledge acknowledging they will uphold the values of academic integrity.
  3. Provide an easy method for challenging copyright and other infringements.

Unfortunately, contract cheating and the market for dishonest online “support” appears to be growing, particularly during the current pandemic. Far from being a benign problem, contract cheating has implications for credibility of academic degrees, institutional accreditation, and for society as a whole, as the students who engage in contract cheating graduate, enter the workforce, and move into leadership positions. 

As an organization dedicated to enhancing academic integrity,  ICAI specifically denounces companies that profit from helping students cheat. Moreover, we call upon educational institutions, the corporate world, accrediting bodies, and governments to act to promote academic integrity by setting high expectations for themselves and those around them.

#integritymatters, #excelwithintegrity #myownwork


Download the IDOA Resource Guide 



Ellis, C., Zucker, I.M., & Randall, D. (2018). The infernal business of contract cheating: Understanding the business processes and models of academic custom writing sites. International Journal for Educational Integrity, 14(1), 1-21. DOI 10.1007/s40979-017-0024-3

Guerrero-Dib, J., Portales, L., & Heredia-Escorza, Y. (2020). Impact of academic integrity on workplace ethical behaviour. International Journal for Educational Integrity, 16(2), 1-18.

Harding, T., Carpenter, D., Finelli, C. & Passow, H. (2004). Does academic dishonesty relate to unethical behavior in professional practice? An exploratory study. Science and Engineering Ethics, 10(2), 311-324.

Lancaster, T. (2020). Academic discipline integration by contract cheating services and essay mills. Journal of Academic Ethics, 18(2), 115-127. DOI:10.1007/s1805-019-09357

Lancaster, T., & Clarke, R. (2016). Contract cheating: The outsourcing of assessed student work. In T. Bretag (Ed.), Handbook of academic integrity (pp. 639-654). Springer-Nature. DOI 10.1007/978-981-287-098-8

Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) UK. (2020). Contracting to cheat in higher education. How to address essay mills and contract cheating (2nd ed). Retrieved from © The Quality Assurance Agency.

Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA). (nd). Contract cheating is a symptom, not the problem. Retrieved from