I recently learned of the concept of academic ghostwriting (see, e.g. this article) - by which I mean the situation where a student goes to another person, or perhaps a service, and pays them to complete an assignment for them. In the linked article, the writer (a claimed ghostwriter) says that he has written thousands of pages of essays for students, or more accurately, for the students' money.
In short, this stuns me. I somehow completely missed this during my undergraduate career (I'm now a PhD student). In the comments to the article, the claimed ghostwriter says that the act of ghostwriting is legal (no claims on ethics - and the student is at fault). So my question is:
Is academic ghostwriting illegal?
It seems that it constitutes fraud, or perhaps some sort of assumed copyright or something. It's hard to say. Perhaps this is just an effect of the sheer lack of ethics that I feel is required to do such a thing.