Contract cheating refers to students paying a third party to complete university assessments for them. Although opportunities for commercial contract cheating are widely available in the form of essay mills, only about 3% of students engage in this behaviour. This study examined the reasons why most students do not engage in contract cheating. Students ( n = 1204) completed a survey on why they do not engage in contract cheating as well as measures of several individual differences, including self-control, grit and the Dark Triad traits. Morality and motivation for learning received the greatest endorsement for why students do not engage in contract cheating. Controlling for gender, individual differences predicted students’ reasons for not contract cheating. This study supports the use of criminological theories relating to rational choice, self-control and opportunity to explain why students do not engage in contract cheating. Practically, this study may inform academic policies and assessment design that may reduce contract cheating.