Until the spring of 2019 the general public talked about that big problem hovering over the country called college admissions. Surprisingly, a health services fraud investigation led to a man who had a bribery scheme of his own. Suddenly, the distasteful side of college admissions had a face. Soon the one image of admissions fraud had more than 50 faces and they all had a few things in common; kids that were college age and a lot of money to make sure those kids got into exclusive colleges.
There was finally a scapegoat to lambast. How dare they throw their money around and take those coveted college seats from the hard working students who deserved them… We flew right past the nagging question that has been simmering for years. Who actually “deserves” those coveted seats in our most prestigious universities?
What do the faces look like on the other side of that admissions scandal coin? I see them regularly. They are the children of single mothers spending hard-earned dollars on tutors because their child is pursuing an excellent grade in every subject; they are the families who are doing well until mom or dad gets laid off and then, that affordable state school is out of reach; they are the family who’s teen-aged child is struggling with an issue apart from their superior academic performance and they are the parents of a truly gifted child who don’t know how to take advantage of the system that would nurture their little genius because neither of them went to college.
Our government and judicial system will proceed with all the resources at their disposal to make examples of the families who got caught cheating on admission applications. Once again, we are treating the symptom instead of looking for a cure. There is enough money in endowments, investments, contributions and endorsements to solve this problem many times over. So why does it continue to be a problem? Like every other chronic ailment, there is no financial reward in solving the problem. There is however, lots of money to be made in keeping the system just the way it is.