Featured News - Current News - Archived News - News Categories

The unfair advantage of wealthy students

by The Stylus
Wed, Apr 3rd 2019 03:10 pm
Skipping the line: The college process is very difficult for any student. However, it becomes more difficult when the student's financial situation prohibits them from getting enrolled into school. Recently, students have been accepted into big universities through the financial help of their parents. While privileged students get an easy enrollment, there are those students who have the grades but have to work harder to get accepted into the same institution.
Skipping the line: The college process is very difficult for any student. However, it becomes more difficult when the student's financial situation prohibits them from getting enrolled into school. Recently, students have been accepted into big universities through the financial help of their parents. While privileged students get an easy enrollment, there are those students who have the grades but have to work harder to get accepted into the same institution.

News of the recent college bribery scandal, dubbed Operation Varsity Blues by the FBI, is currently flooding media outlets. 50 people have been named in the federal investigation and are facing criminal charges.

The list includes actors, CEOs, investors, coaches and administrators who colluded with William Rick Singer, the CEO of The Key, a private college counseling company. The scandal has raised concerns about the way the higher education system is set up, with many students feeling that the cards are stacked against them.

Investigators have stated that while some parents paid to have their children’s SAT/ACT scores altered or had someone take the test for their children, others masqueraded their unqualified children as athletes, even going so far as to photoshop the faces of their children onto athletes and bribing athletic coaches into giving their children spots on a team they would never actually play on.

Lori Loughlin, famous for playing Aunt Becky on “Full House,” and her husband Mossimo Giannulli paid half a million dollars total for their two daughters to be admitted in to the University of South California through recruitment for positions on the rowing team, a sport the girls were neither well versed in nor were expected to play once the school year started. An affluent owner of several vineyards also paid USC officials so that his daughter could be recruited to the water polo team.

Students and parents alike have sounded off against the way elite colleges tip the scales in favor of wealthy applicants. Not only is it unfair to students who work extremely hard academically, it also takes spots from deserving athletes that have dedicated their whole lives to sports in hopes of making it into some of these famous Division I schools that have been caught             taking bribes.

In what Forbes refers to as a show of “blatant and widespread illegality,” the elite colleges implicated in the investigation, such as Yale and Georgetown, have shown applicants that money is considered more important than merit, thus cheapening the value of higher education.

Although these parents have illegally paid funds adding up to $6.5 million in order to secure their children’s positions at famous educational institutions, it is not actually illegal to donate money to a school that your child is applying to.

In fact, many wealthy families take that route, donating millions to colleges their children have either already applied to or are planning to apply to. It is outrageous that this process is legal and to say that the parent’s donation has no effect on the admission of the child is naïve and unrealistic.

We at The Stylus are proud to be a part of a college community that is unbiased in their admissions, creating a more diverse environment in the process. The College at Brockport is home to students from all walks of life and it is this diversity that enriches our college experience.

People from low-income backgrounds already struggle with college admission, striving to receive scholarships and often having to take out loans to help pay for their education. In some cases they may not even make the academic requirements due to taking on jobs to help improve their financial situation.

With students juggling their education and part-time or full-time jobs, there is no room in their schedules for the extracurricular activities or volunteer work that make up a typical college application.

Children from rich homes already have countless advantages in life and allowing them even more of a leg up by giving them preferential treatment in an educational setting is extremely detrimental to our society.

On top of taking bribes to admit students without the proper academic qualifications, these elite schools are guilty of grade inflation. In the wake of this investigation, people are wondering how these ill-equipped students are passing their classes. Grade inflation accommodates them by giving them much higher grades than they deserve, putting students who actually earned their spot at the school at even more of a disadvantage.

Legislators are already looking for ways to prevent something like this from happening again. The proposed Texas Contextualized Transcript bill “asks that the students and parents receive the information they need regarding exactly what the standards are for which they’re paying,” making universities explicitly define their processes for applicants.

Inclusion and fairness in higher education has always been a problem, but if issues like this persist, marginalized groups will only further be disenfranchised and the flawed systems under which things like this occur will never be repaired.