Parents Fund Kids' Cheating Habits

When Nicole Kristal couldn't make a living making music in Hollywood, she tried her hand at an older profession. Well, sort of.

"I was an academic prostitute," she says. "That's harsh, not really.

"I mean, I sold my mind for money."

As CBS News Correspondent Byron Pitts reports, Kristal's "clients" paid her to cheat.

At $40-an-hour, she wrote college admission essays for high school students and term papers for college seniors.

One kid, she says, would've failed his class without her help.

"He flunked all the tests," says Kristal.

And where did these kids get the money to pay her?

"It's not the kids, it's the parents, actually," she says.

Asked what it says about our society that there's a market for her services, Kristal says: "I think it shows how competitive our society's become and that it's become mostly about status, not education."

So who's to blame?

Can you spell Enron and Major League Baseball?

For students the message is becoming increasingly clear: Don't just win, win at any cost.

"One of the main reasons students cheat is they look around and see all their peers cheating and the message becomes, 'To remain competitive I've got to do the same thing,'" says John Barrie, founder of Turnitin.com, a company that tracks plagiarism for schools around the world.

  • Jaime Holguin

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