Talk of college admissions has reached national news recently as big universities and celebrities have been involved in a college admissions scandal. The U.S Department of Education has recently launched an investigation of UCLA, USC, Yale, and other universities due to fraudulent acceptances into these top colleges. Also involved in this scandal are many wealthy individuals who pay the schools an absurd amount of money for their child’s college acceptance. While both celebrities Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin have been involved in this scandal, about 50 other people have been charged with fraudulently influencing admissions. Together, those charged with these crimes paid a whopping 25 million dollars to William Rick Singer, a man who manipulates test scores and bribes universities to get the children of his clients into top colleges. However, with a scandal like this, it is important to look at all the socioeconomic advantages and disadvantages, with respect to the college admissions process and attending college.
It’s no secret that the wealthy have an easier time with the college process. Regarding test scores, the wealthy have access to better prep books, tutors, and more tests, as all of these steps in the standardized testing process together cost a large sum of money. As for college admissions, applying to college is an expensive feat as well. Generally speaking, college application fees are around 50 dollars each, and it is becoming increasingly popular to apply to 5 to 10 colleges, sometimes even 15. Wealthy parents also have a leg up in terms of boosting their children’s applications because they have the means to send their kids to summer programs, pay for tutors, and cover the costs of expensive extracurricular activities that are appealing to college admissions offices. Sometimes wealthy parents pay for a special admissions counselor, which is another added cost that less fortunate parents simply cannot pay for. All of these costs add up, and they add up quickly. Even after being accepted into college, the real disadvantage comes with paying tuition. Private universities like USC and Yale cost 50 to 60 thousand dollars a year without aid. With financial aid, these schools still cost around 30 thousand dollars. These figures simply are just not an option for poor and middle-class families. Even if their children apply to state schools, with cheaper in-state tuition, it is still very expensive and requires the student to take out student loans. UCLA in-state tuition is around 12 thousand dollars, which can still break the bank for families when adding up with the cost of all college prep and admissions materials, and the cost of things like textbooks and other school supplies. The majority of families have multiple children, and are still looking at around 30 thousand dollars annually even if they have just 2 kids. This is only an outline of the kind of money colleges require these days, even for just admission to their university. It is clear wealthy parents have a leg up.
While the scandal is far from a typical college admissions experience, it still highlights the inevitable advantage that rich families have. It brings to light the lengths colleges go to for an extra 50 thousand dollars, and exposes the ever growing competitiveness of college admissions. When surveying this larger than life scandal, it is important to notice the real life aspects of the college admissions process, and the disadvantages of the poor and middle-class when it comes to getting their children an education.