It’s called “chegging.” College students everywhere know what it means. “If I run out of time or I’m having problems on homework or an online quiz,” says Matt, a 19-year-old sophomore at Arizona State, “I can chegg it.”
He means he can use Chegg Study, the $14.95-a-month service he buys from Chegg, a tech company whose stock price has more than tripled during the pandemic. It takes him seconds to look up answers in Chegg’s database of 46 million textbook and exam problems and turn them in as his own. In other words, to cheat. (Matt asked that his real name be withheld because he knows he’s violating his school’s honour code.)
Chegg is based in Santa Clara, California, but the heart of its operation is in India, where it employs more than 70,000 experts with advanced math, science, technology and engineering degrees. The experts, who work freelance, are online 24/7, supplying step-by-step answers to questions posted by subscribers (sometimes answered in less than 15 minutes). Chegg offers other services students find useful, including tools to create bibliographies, solve math problems and improve writing. But the main revenue driver, and the reason students subscribe, is Chegg Study.
“If I don’t want to learn the material,” says a University of Florida sophomore majoring in finance, “I use Chegg to get the answers.”
“I use Chegg to blatantly cheat,” says a senior at the University of Portland.
Forbes interviewed 52 students who use Chegg Study. Aside from the half-dozen students, Chegg provided for Forbes to talk to, all but four admitted they use the site to cheat. They include undergrads and grad students at 19 colleges, including large and small state schools and prestigious private universities like Columbia, Brown, Duke and NYU Abu Dhabi.
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