OmniNerd has discussed academic cheating before. Many colleges have gone as far as implementing parsers and analyzers to determine if submitted papers are plagiarized directly off the Internet. To combat these systems, students have turned to simply hiring essay writers to create their “original work” for them. Simply googling “hiring essay writer” turned up a number of quick hits showing the basic rates and even screening tips for choosing a writer. I was particularly amused by the caveat, “Above all an essay writer should maintain great integrity in all his or her dealings with clients,” especially in the context of cheating to get ahead.
I do suggest actually reading this link for a really interesting interview – check out The Shadow Scholar where an essay writer anonymously exposes his trade to The Chronicle. The author basically laughs at the sheer ineptitude of his clients despite their ability to game the system riding on his shoulders as they rise in corporate ranks and position of responsibility.