Academic Privilege and Fraud



I’ve been following the latest scandal on television. Yes, that one, where wealthy parents, two notable families in Hollywood, cheated their way into having their children attend one or more elite colleges. I actually couldn’t believe this was more than a one day story, but since it first broke, channel after channel, every day, have carried it, had panels and single guests on talking about the college admissions process and how it desperately needs more transparency. Some 50 people so far have been arrested on Federal charges including wire and mail fraud. The teaser? These people, could receive as much as twenty years in prison.

Before I continue, please raise your hand if you were shocked by this story. No hands? Exactly. Outside of the bubble that is what stands for news today, those of us in flyover country couldn’t have. been less surprised that elites use their money to enhance their own and their families lives. The scandal with the college admissions programs throughout the country is that the media are just now figuring out that there are those that receive special consideration based on their social status.  Of course this goes well beyond just a couple of celebrity families. According to the ringleader, who made millions from this scam, he’s done this for more than 800 over the past several years. Expect more arrests as this unfolds in the coming weeks. It goes beyond just a bribe here and there; Some of these parents paid to have their children diagnosed with ADHD so that they would get extra time on the entrance exam, privately, with a proctor who it appears, assisted in supplying correct answers.

So, doctors are involved. False diagnoses for money? It appears so. The specific circumstances may seem shocking, but it really isn’t. If you can pay for it, you can get it. That may seem a little harsh but it’s true and wealth and status has always played a large part. It’s not just the wealthy though; Politicians children have been known to receive special treatment entering the best colleges and universities, deservedly or not. Of course, it’s the young people that actually did the work through their primary and secondary years of school that suffer. Sure it may seem like a small number but imagine what that may mean to the working or middle class kid that didn’t get a spot in their preferred college because that spot was paid for or granted not based on merit, but who they are.

I feel sorry for those kids in that they were probably unaware of the manipulation occurring, or were raised to just expect special privilege when it came to academic admission. Every story I’ve heard or read is that these same colleges are going to review the admission of those caught up in this scandal. There may be some that are expelled. That’s too bad, but it’s just.

Those in academia caught up in this fraud will of course lose their jobs, as well as be prosecuted. Those doctors involved will  lose the license to practice medicine and some will serve time in prison, or probation at the minimum. That’s as it should be but I really don’t expect much, if anything to happen to those wealthy, elite families, who’re most responsible. I may be wrong, and I hope I am, but I’ll be surprised if any of them go to prison.

Of course, there’s now calls for complete transparency on admissions processes. That’s good, but will it ever happen? Once this story is off the front pages, will these same colleges and universities make any changes to ensure that this fraud never happens again? I doubt it. If Congress becomes involved (which they won’t), it’s possible. Or if the President issues an Executive Order through the Department of Education (possible), maybe. But like everything else in the news cycle, once it’s on the back pages, everyone will just move on as if nothing happened. That’s the real crime.

One thought on “Academic Privilege and Fraud

  1. So special groups of citizens get special privileges. Who would have thunk it? Still, I am angry and very satisfied that their “chickens have come home to roost.”

    Having a child diagnosed with ADHD or within the Autism spectrum, is a game played by parents who aren’t elites. That child, and any others like it in a family, bring in a nice check every month.


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