Privilege and the college admissions scandal

Jane Elkins, Staff Writer

A huge college admission scheme was unveiled on Tues. March 12 was the largest of its kind the Justice Department has ever seen, prosecutors said. The scheme involved at least 50 offenders across six states, millions of dollars in illegally wired funds and a handful of the country’s most selective and competitive universities like Yale, Stanford and other big-name schools.

Thirty-three wealthy parents were charged in the case, including Hollywood celebrities like actress Felicity Huffman and TV star Lori Loughlin as well as some big-name business leaders.

The authorities say the parents of some of the nation’s wealthiest and most privileged students bought and bribed spots for their children at top universities, not only cheating the system, but potentially cheating other hard-working students out of a chance at a college education.

Also being prosecuted are top college athletic coaches, who were accused of accepting millions of dollars to help admit undeserving students to a wide variety of colleges. This means that these parents had the audacity to make their children seem like college level athletes and scholars, just to get into a good school.

This reminds me of something that is legally going on in America, legacy admissions. Studies show that universities that admit legacy applicants at more than five times the rate of non-legacies. In fact, having an alum as a parent is said to increase an applicants by 45 percentage points. That is, if one candidate has an 30% chance of admission, another applicant who has the same chances, but has a parent who attended the school will undoubtedly be chosen over the other.

It shouldn’t matter that wealthy graduates of colleges provide funds and donations to the colleges, as college should be all about equal opportunity.
Supporters of the practice argue that its about “tradition” but it’s pretty clear that is about money and personal gain. To me, that “tradition” seems more like inherited aristocracy and undeserved gains.

All this just comes to show the unfair admissions process in America very openly favors wealthier students and how children of alumni already have an incredible built-in advantage merely by being the children of college graduates from elite universities. The real victims of both legacy admissions and the fraud scheme are the millions of hard working students that actually put in the work to get into a good school.