Chances are that if you’re reading this you are one of Drexel’s 24,190 students. Between undergraduate, graduate, professional and online students there are quite literally tens of thousands of students, and hundreds of thousands before them, who worked hard to be able to receive a higher education.
Though Drexel isn’t exactly the most selective school around, clocking in at an acceptance rate of about 75 percent, the students who end up attending this school work tirelessly on 10-week term schedules, balancing academics with sports, activities and social lives.
They do this because the majority of people who set foot on this campus are grateful for the fact that they are here. Sure, every college campus is riddled with students who take their opportunities for granted or don’t try, but for a school with a high acceptance rate and even higher tuition, the students here appreciate what they get out of a higher education.
That’s part of what makes the college admissions scandal that hit headlines earlier this week so frustrating. To catch those up who may have missed it, multiple wealthy people and high-profile celebrities have been indicted by the FBI in an investigation surrounding bribery, cheating and fraud in the college admissions process.
Celebrities Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman were two of the dozens of parents who are being charged with cheating the system — anywhere from bribing standardized test proctors to faking entire student athlete careers to get their kids into schools like Stanford, Yale, Georgetown, Wake Forest University and the University of Southern California.
Wake Forest? USC? Really? Aim higher.
Regardless, this is a scandal that is symbolic of a much larger problem in the higher education system in this country. This was one of those things that everyone knew was happening but just let it continue anyway. Rich people getting their kids into good schools with money and influence? Totally fine. Unless it’s slightly behind closed doors. Then it’s a federal crime.
There’s a hypocrisy about higher education here that this story should compel us to address. The barriers to entry in higher education in this country are too high by academic standards alone, even before we consider letting parents let their kids who don’t deserve to ride through school on legacy admissions and endowment donations.
Our system of education is broken at almost every level, and as time goes on we take one step forward and two steps back as the people on top do whatever they can to make sure they stay there. The meritocracy that we pretend our country is built upon is heavily skewed downwards. These aren’t people who earned this. These are people who have amassed wealth and taken opportunities from other students who deserve them just as much, if not more.
If we’re going to put so much value on a college education as a society then we need to make it something that everyone can achieve. These practices of public bribery and bias that we encourage as a society won’t stop until we do something about it, and these indictments are a good first step.