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EDITORIAL: Education can be bought

They say you can’t buy happiness, but it seems you can buy a college education

On March 12, wealthy families were found to have paid thousands of dollars for their children to attend prestigious colleges. This includes the University of Southern California, Harvard University, Yale University, Stanford University and many more. This was revealed after U.S. federal prosecutors found that the college admission recruiters and coaches were taking bribes since 2011. Those who are involved in the scandal include Felicity Huffman, Lori Loughlin, Mossimo Giannulli and various CEOs.

For some this comes as no surprise that this was uncovered. The old adage of ‘happiness can’t be bought’ is a true statement. Sure, money can make life convenient, but it doesn’t necessarily solve all our issues in life. However, an education can be easily bought if you have enough capital for a degree.

This is not an uncommon occurrence. In 2013 Buzzfeed published an article by a college recruiter that details their experience of parents bribing recruiters. Even this year in January, an assistant coach from Oklahoma State University was found guilty for taking bribes since 2017.

Some of the methods used by wealthy families are totally legal. The New York Times highlighted the use of college consultants, where families can pay as high as $1.5 million directly to college consultant companies in order to have their kids steered to certain prestigious colleges from as far back as the start of their eighth grade education. There is even something known as ‘legacy admissions’ where alumni of certain schools like Harvard or Columbia are likely to accept their alumni’s kids to their respective university. Harvard University is known to practice legacy admission, even going so far as to defend the practice.

Anthony Abraham Jack, an alumni and professor from Harvard University wrote a book called The Privilege of Poor. It focuses on impoverished students who attend prestigious colleges and how they still struggle in private colleges from policies that impact them negatively. Jack also discovered how little the racial diversity was in Harvard, even asking himself when he was there, “Am I the only poor black person here?”

It’s unfair for disadvantaged students who work hard to attend prestigious colleges only to not be accepted because of their financial status. For these colleges it’s not about how good you were in school, but how deep pocketed your families are.

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