From an academic perspective, plagiarism is a major problem because it involves students attempting to earn credit by using the work of another person. Plagiarism also steals from the ideas, expressions and works of the innovative people who come up with them.
Schools must take a hard line on plagiarism to encourage students to formulate their own ideas and put together original works. If a composition student anticipates no consequence from cheating, the student may opt for the simple approach of copying the works of others rather than coming up with his own. From a learning standpoint, plagiarism prevents students from gaining knowledge and experience.
Students also face long-term risks when they plagiarize. Colleges often put plagiarism discipline, such as suspension or termination, on a student's permanent transcript. This notation can adversely affect a student's ability to transfer. It may also cause problems with future employers who ask for transcripts as part of a job application.
Students found guilty of plagiarism also face financial risks. Creators harmed when their works are copied or used without authorization sometimes sue to collect lost earnings and damages. Even when a student is not caught plagiarizing, the bad habit of cheating could cost him in future jobs if he plagiarizes in publications or reports.