Universities: Helping the rich get richer

Growing up, I was always conscious of how far money could get you in life. I knew this from firsthand experience as someone looking in from the outside, as someone who didn’t have this advantage.

Nothing has laminated this as much as the recent college admission scandal that has come to light. According to NPR, dozens of disgustingly rich and affluent individuals were traced to a variety of elaborate admissions fraud schemes.

With the help of William Rick Singer, the head of Edge College & Career Network LLC (‘The Key’), they paid off coaches and purchased fake SAT test results in order to buy their children’s entrance into institutions such as Yale, the University of Southern California and Georgetown University.

As stunning as that is, it doesn’t end there; according to NPR, Singer was able to launder the money parents were pouring into his pockets under the disguise of a charitable foundation and for-profit college preparation business. Between the years of 2011 and 2018, Singer collected more than $25 million from powerful and rich families, charging each family anywhere from $200,000 to $6.5 million for their children’s admission.

Details continue to surface about how Singer went so far as to help parents lie about their child’s athletic ability in order for them to gain admittance as a student athlete. In fact, according to NPR, Singer was accused of “photo-doctoring to copy and paste a student’s head on top of the body of an athlete.

What immediately came to my mind as I witnessed this story unfold was anger at the lack of consideration for how this impacted the admission numbers of less privileged students. For nearly eight years at the aforementioned college institutions, students from lower income backgrounds were denied access because of their lack of money while rich students were pretending to be athletes just to attend.

As it is, these schools are already more selective than your average community college. According to NPR, the University of Texas admits four out of every 10 applicants while Yale’s acceptance rate rings in at a, wait for it, whopping 7 percent.

The admissions board for a university is entrusted with determining who is worthy of a higher education, but how can we trust its judgement when it appears that the people value the education of the rich regardless of merit, grades and athletic ability. According to Inside HigherEd, legacy students’ chances of getting into schools are two to four times greater than the average unassociated teenager.

As reported by NPR, some of the universities involved have defended their right to prefer admittance of legacy students, which justifies the perpetuance of a cycle where the lower income end up suffering.

I believe the only way to prevent this cycle from continuing is for the Board of Education to conduct a thorough investigation on the admissions policies of universities. The investigation should determine if the children of the rich are admittedly using the same standards for children of lesser backgrounds. If there are inconsistencies, both the parents and the universities should be held criminally accountable.

For every wealthy student accepted on the basis of money alone, a student who may have been more deserving misses an opportunity to attend the school of their dreams.

While it may be easy to focus on the wrongdoings of the rich, please don’t forget to prosecute the systems that allowed them to do so.

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