The elite college admissions scandal has not only shocked the nation, but has resulted in a loss of faith among many students in the American belief that hard work lies at the core of success in this country.
This scandal has revealed to many that great opportunities are bought for the children of the rich and are not necessarily based on merit. When such a travesty becomes a systemic problem, how can this be addressed by the institutions themselves?
Yale, you’ll recall, spent $500 million to house 800 students in its two new residential colleges, which adds up to $625,000 per student. USC spent a whopping $700 million on its residential village, which houses 2,500 students. That’s inexpensive by Yale standards, at just $280,000 per student, in a neighborhood where the average annual income is just one-tenth that amount.
Of course, the champion was Harvard, which budgeted $1.4 billion to renovate its undergraduate residences.
Expenditures like those require lots and lots of money, and, as we have been reminded in recent days, some of the money that elite institutions raise arrives in unsavory ways, for example, in return for special treatment in admissions. This, in turn, has encouraged other wealthy people to seek their own side doors into elite colleges and universities.
What, we might ask, will be the response to this scandal?