ProctorFree - A Review of 2013 Cheating Scandals

As 2013 comes to a close, we thought we would take some time to review some of the top cheating scandals that we blogged about over the year. While it may seem redundant, we think it’s important to take a look and see how students, teachers, and administrators find ways to cheat the system. If you don’t want to be in the headlines in 2014, contact ProctorFree today!

Harvard University

Harvard University had the most publicized cheating scandal of the year leading the public wondering if Harvard’s reputation could recover from such a publicized event. Although the cheating occurred in 2012, Harvard did not bring down punishment until early 2013 when they expelled 70 students for their academic dishonesty.

Harvard’s story brings forth a popular question; when does collaboration become cheating? While students maintained that they merely worked together to better understand a difficult class, administrators found identical answers to test questions leading them to determine they cheated.

Florida International University

At Florida International University, an alumnus hacked into a professor’s computer and stole several exams, which were then sold by students for up to $150. The investigation is still under way but the students and alumnus are currently facing felony charges if arrested.

University of Colorado

The University of Colorado is dealing with a problem that is popular among any university using online learning. Just a few months ago, the University realized that students were paying companies and other individuals to take their online classes. Students were paying up to $1,000 for another person to take their class. In addition, one student offered $10,000 to a professor for a passing grade in his online class.

Florida Public Schools

High school students in Florida are faced with a slightly different problem in a story that should be titled, “Man vs. Machine.” The Florida Department of Education contracted a security firm to evaluate students’ answer sheets on high-stakes end of grade exams. Unfortunately, the security system flagged over 2,000 exams and labeled these students as potential cheaters.

While Florida is still investigating, many students say they have been labeled guilty until proven innocent and are fighting to have the cheating allegations admonished. Unfortunately, this is a time-consuming process that could lead to students’ missing college application deadlines.

Washington State

Cheating doesn’t only occur in a high school or college setting. The Washington State Patrol has recently discovered that Basic Law Enforcement Trainees have been circulating a comprehensive study guide that provides answers to questions pulled directly from final exams. The Washington State Patrol is currently investigating the situation to determine if this is a recent development or if it goes back to graduates who have been working as patrolmen for years.

Harvard University

A former minister who worked for a Humanist group at Harvard lied about her credentials to her employer. The minister claimed to have earned a degree in Divinity from Duke University. After an in-depth review, it was discovered that the minister had only completed summer courses at Duke and never earned a degree. The minister was immediately dismissed. This story is a reminder to all employers to follow up on employee credentials making sure you receive the right information during the hiring process.

University of Albany

At the University of Albany, students possessed an entrepreneurial spirit while discovering ways to cheat. Using social media, students posted class assignments to forums and groups and offered cash to any student that could successfully complete the assignments.


Atlanta’s cheating scandal showcases what can happen to teachers and administrators when they are caught cheating. Six school professionals have been indicted since it was discovered that these individuals were changing answers on students’ standardized tests in order to make the school look better on performance standards.

University of North Carolina

By far, the UNC story of cheating has been the most popular case in our home state of North Carolina. Over 300 students took fraudulent courses in the African studies department at the University. A majority of these students were athletes and never actually met in a classroom setting. Rather, students registered for the courses that never actually existed. Students received passing grades and most eventually graduated from the University.

While UNC avoided accreditation turmoil with the Southern Association of College and Schools Commission (SACS), the University was required to reach out to every student impacted by this event and offer them the opportunity to take free make-up classes to complete their degrees. Those still enrolled in the University were required to take make-up classes in order to complete their degrees.