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Dissecting The National College Admissions Bribery Scandal

Ben Margot
Associated Press
Stanford University is one of the colleges caught up in the national bribery scandal. In the first lawsuit to come out of the scandal, several students are suing Yale, Georgetown, Stanford and others, saying they were denied a fair shot at admission.

Recent federal indictments of dozens of parents, coaches and an admissions consultant put in the spotlight the lengths some will go to to place students in prestigious schools.

Kevin Carey, vice president for education policy and knowledge management at New America, talked with KERA Think host Krys Boyd about the many ways wealthy parents use their money to get around the admissions process — and the impact that has on students.

» Interview Highlights

How some bypass the traditional college admission process: “Coaches often of minor sports, not big-time revenue sports like basketball or football, are often allotted a certain number of slots each year to recruit students who may be very good at, say, tennis, but wouldn’t otherwise qualify to get into the institution – those are the coaches who received the bribes.”

How the cheating scheme went on for so long: “They clearly weren’t checking to see if these young men and women actually enrolled in the sport, which would seem like a fairly easy thing to do. If you get a list in one year that says I wanna give a tennis scholarship to these three women ... not that difficult to the next year see if they’re actually on the tennis team or not.”

On who the victims are: "The universities have said, ‘We’re the victims here,' but really the victims were the people who didn’t get the chance to go to the place they deserved. There’s a callousness and a level of indifference to that that really is pretty appalling … it doesn’t speak well to the character of anyone involved.”

Advice to those who don't get into a brand-name college: “The entire system doesn’t work this way … but also don’t get too caught up in the hype around these super selective institutions. The idea that if you don’t get into a super selective expensive school, pathways of opportunity are cut off for you, is not true.”