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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: May 9, 2017 09:47 AM
From: Representative Stephen Kinsey
To: All House members
Subject: Academic Fraud (Re-Introduction)
In the near future, I intend to re-introduce legislation – former House Bill 1244 of the 2015-2016 Legislative Session – that would create and define the offense of academic fraud.

Specifically, my proposal states that a person would commit academic fraud if he, with the intent to defraud or with knowledge that he is facilitating a fraud to be perpetrated by another person, helps a student (or attempts to help him) obtain a credit, grade, test score or degree which was not earned. A person would also commit academic fraud if he would give or change an academic credit, grade, or test score in exchange for a good, service, thing of value, or money. Under these circumstances, academic fraud would be graded a third-degree felony.

If the fraud involves a student athlete, the offense is a second-degree felony if the perpetrator:
  • Accepted a good, service, thing of value, or money for teaching a no-show class;
  • Steered a student athlete to a no-show class in order to help the student achieve or maintain eligibility for competition;
  • Made or attempted to make unauthorized changes in a grade or course credit by forgery; or
  • Engaged in a systematic, ongoing course of conduct with the intent to defraud a person in order to ensure the academic eligibility of a student athlete.
Incidents of academic fraud have increasingly come to light in recent years, forcing the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) to update its academic integrity policies for the first time since 1983. One impetus for the NCAA’s action was a scathing 2014 report on academic fraud at the University of North Carolina. The report detailed an 18-year scheme in which about 3,000 students – many of whom were athletes – enrolled in classes involving little or no faculty involvement or academic work. Furthermore, the report found academic counselors worked with professors to negotiate the grades needed for student athletes to maintain academic eligibility.

More recently, in July 2016, the NCAA placed Georgia Southern University on probation for two years following a case in which two former staff members operated email accounts and completed assignments on behalf of three football players.

Please join me in sponsoring this important legislation and ensuring the integrity of higher education in Pennsylvania.

Introduced as HB1733