Does CHEGG Deserve a Pass?

The following is a statement from Steve Pociask, president of the American Consumer Institute:

“In a recent Heard on the Street column (“Chegg Deserves a Pass”), Jinjoo Lee cites a strong balance sheet and significant international growth prospects as sources of confidence for investors in the wake of the company’s brutal third quarter earnings results. The article ignores the most significant threat the company faces: Educators are beginning to recognize that the company is facilitating a nationwide college cheating epidemic.

To put it simply, Chegg profits from providing users with direct access answer keys for homework and previous exam questions on a live, 24/7 basis. In response to these practices, textbook publisher Pearson Education sued Chegg for copyright infringement, a lawsuit that the article failed to mention.

To make matters worse, Chegg also recently launched a program called “Uversity,” which pays educators to upload step-by-step answers to problems that blatantly allows students to cheat on school assignments. How can professors police cheating and encourage academic integrity when they are being compensated for doing the exact opposite?

The materials that Chegg provides to students undermine the value of higher education and hinder them from growth in the short term. As a result, it will cripple our country’s workforce and its ability to solve problems and think critically without cheating. As former Dean of USC’s Rossier School of Education Karen Gallagher pointed out in her recent op-ed, “Fields such as engineering, science and nursing will lose in the long run if newly minted students cheat their way into the professions.”

Instead of shielding and defending Chegg for its recent struggles, we must illuminate the dishonest nature of the company’s services and take a closer look at its harmful impact on the U.S. education system and workforce.

The truth is, Chegg does not deserve a pass, so let us not encourage investors to look the other way anymore.”