College Admission Scandal Changed Students’ Perception of College

The recent college admission scandal changed how people view our system of higher education… and not for the better.

You’ll recall that early in March the Department of Justice busted a college bribery scam wide open and the investigation resulted in dozens of indictments for fraud and bribery.

The case even snared two Hollywood actresses — Desperate Housewives star Felicity Huffman and Full House actress Lori Loughlin.

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The rich, mostly white, liberal parents gave millions to school officials and coaches to get their kids entered into sports programs and to help their kids pass tests for better grades.

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If there is any example of “white privilege” it is this case… but it isn’t any sort of “race” issue, but it is a hypocrite issue.

Only a few days later, students who did not have the super-rich parents who could bribe their way through school began suing the schools over the mess.

These students feared that their degrees have become devalued now that we see that a long list of students only got into these colleges by bribery.

All this has had an impact on how people see college in general.

Student resource provider OneClass recently polled 2,000 college students in the U.S. to gauge their thoughts about higher education in the wake of this scandal.

One finding, for instance, discovered that previous to the bribery scandal, more students saw higher education as academic institutions dedicated to learning. But now, after the scandal, more see colleges as just another business venture. In other words, college has lost its shiny reputation as something beyond mere business.

Note in the graphs below how feelings moved from before the scandal and after:



Still, feelings were split about what to do about this situation.

Is it just good business to let some students in through a “side door”? Or is it a shame that devalues everyone’s degrees? And who should move to fix whatever might be broken?

Further, is all this something that government should get involved in? Ideas were typically split along political lines on that question. More Democrats than Republicans felt that the heavy hand of the government should come in and force change.

Republicans on campus in large part want to see the college admissions process remain free of involvement from third-parties or the state.

Liberals are 94% more likely than conservatives to want greater federal control over the college admissions process.

Regardless of what ends up being done about it all, the scandal of this magnitude disillusioned many college students

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.

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