Scandal brings to light inequalities in education

By Ashley Hines

The recent college admissions scandal highlights deep-seated issues of inequality in higher education. The opportunity to attend a university should be achieved through an impartial process — not given to the highest bidder.

Federal investigators revealed March 13 that 50 wealthy people were involved in a scam focused on bribing their children into top universities. Parents paid anywhere from $200,000 to $6.5 million to go above admissions and grant their children a spot. In total, $25 million separated among a confirmed number of 50 parents, coaches and other college faculty were spent, and there are suspected to be hundreds of others involved, according to a March 18 Forbes article.

The allegations include bribing college entrance exam officials to facilitate cheating on standardized tests, bribing coaches to recruit children as athletes, using bribes under the guise of charitable donations and third parties taking classes and exams in place of students and submitting them as their own applications. The schools involved include Yale, Stanford, Georgetown University, Boston University, Northeastern University, University of California, Los Angeles, University of Southern California, University of Texas at Austin and Wake Forest University.

The scandal reveals what many students already suspected: Those with the money to do so can circumvent the law with ease. For some, this notion ignites a fire of betrayal by the hand of the education system. However, most are not surprised by the incident.

“I’m not surprised in the slightest,” political science major Layla Werner said. “If you have money in this country, you can basically have anything you want. I wish it didn’t work that way, but it unfortunately does.”

The parents and coaches behind the scandal exhibit no respect for the law or other people. Beyond that, the parents show they have the least faith in their own children’s abilities and an utter disregard for other students who actually devoted an indescribable amount of effort to their success.

“Other people are working their way through their education,” Werner said. “It’s unfair because there are people working every single day to support themselves or their children through school, and the students involved in the scandal have had everything handed to them their entire lives.”

From a young age, children are told if they work hard, get involved and overcome all the obstacles in their way, they can be successful in this country. Eventually, most underprivileged students have found this tale to be just that. For the wealthy, a prestigious degree is just another price tag that can be purchased with sufficient funds.