People who take exams or write essays on behalf of university students could be jailed under proposed education reforms.

Federal Education Minister Dan Tehan says jail time for cheats - or fines of up to $210,000 - would stop hardworking students from having to compete with swindlers and frauds.

“It's simply not good enough,” he said.

“It's not fair for those students who are doing the hard yards, for those students who are doing all the work, for those students who put hours into studying.”

The minister says many highly sophisticated cheating services are operating from offshore bases.

“If you're a cheating service, understand now you are going to face the full force of the law if you provide those services to students here in Australia,” he said.

“For those services based overseas, we are going to use blocking to make sure that they cannot provide those services.

“For those who are here and operating in Australia, understand that we will come after you.”