University at Albany (N.Y.) officials say they are investigating allegations about 100 of 650 students in a class paid for someone to complete their homework.

University spokesman Karl Luntta told the Albany Times Union the school is conducting an investigation into allegations of cheating in one class, but he declined to confirm how many students were involved.

The university prohibits academic dishonesty and fraud, which includes buying and selling assignments. Students found guilty of violating the code of conduct face a range of penalties including expulsion, Luntta said.

Professor Peter Ross, whose Computer Applications in Business course students are part of the investigation, said he has tried to stop cheating for at least five years.

Students use a unique password to log in to a class website to complete their work, but he discovered some students were copying the files of others so he tried to thwart that by using two separate publishers with programs that identify duplicated work.

Despite this, Ross said he caught 20 students cheating by copying work this semester.

One student, who asked to remain anonymous, said his friends chided him for doing the course homework assignment, "when you can just buy the assignments."

The Internet and social media have made college assignments part of a free market where classmates look to buy and sell assignments, the Times Union reported. In one recent post a student offered to pay someone to finish an internship, the newspaper said.