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06/23/2024 05:15 PM
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House of Representatives
Session of 2023 - 2024 Regular Session


Posted: January 4, 2023 11:55 AM
From: Representative Stephen Kinsey and Rep. Maureen E. Madden, Rep. James B. Struzzi, II
To: All House members
Subject: Academic Integrity: Creating the Offense of Academic Fraud
Institutions of higher education have been plagued in recent years by individuals seeking to gain access to college or receive a degree by any means other than hard work; the college admissions scandal of 2019 exemplifies this, as wealthy parents paid upwards of $400,000 per student to receive false standardized test scores to universities such as Yale, Stanford, and Georgetown. Moreover, athletic coaches took part in this scheme, accepting bribes to identify students as “recruited athletes” in hopes of increasing their chances of getting accepted. Prior to that, we also saw institutions themselves penalized for enrolling student athletes into no-show or no-work classes to maintain the students’ academic eligibility.
In response to this serious issue, We plan to introduce legislation that would define the offense of academic fraud, when someone helps a student receive a course credit, grade, test score, or degree which is not earned, or changes a grade or test score for a student for money or services. This offense would be graded as a third-degree felony, subject to a fine of up to $15,000 and imprisonment of up to seven years, but that would increase to a second-degree felony (with a fine of up to $25,000 and imprisonment of up to 10 years) for those who assist student athletes in cheating. This legislation would also enable the Office of the Attorney general to assist in reporting of this offense.
We believe in academic integrity and in the idea that a person deserves the grade they work for rather than the grade they pay for. With this legislation, we can make our educational institutions the pride of the Commonwealth they once were and root out those who would cheat to get ahead. We look forward to your support of this important legislation.

Introduced as HB467