This article documents that the majority of college students cheat. I believe the three main causes are:
1) The obvious one: a decline in ethics among our leaders: priests have sex with children parishioners, athletes use illegal drugs to give them an unfair advantage, politicians lie--well, that's nothing new. If role models matter, we're not modeling well.
Solution: All of us, especially those who are prominent, must realize that our actions educate the young on what's really the way to behave.
2) Students feel the course material isn't worth learning and the assignments, such as term papers, aren't worth doing.
Solution: Professors really should make courses and assignments of greater value. Sit in on college classes and examine the course readings and assignments, and if you're honest with yourself, you'll realize how much of it is unimportant in the larger scheme of things.
3) Colleges are admitting ever weaker students. Such students simply can't graduate unless they cheat.
Solution: Admit only students whose high school records (including the difficult-to-cheat-on SAT ) suggests a reasonable probability that college is the wisest post-secondary path for that student.