Celebrities Cheating College Process Shines Light On Inequity For Low-Income Students | Connecticut Public Radio
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Celebrities Cheating College Process Shines Light On Inequity For Low-Income Students

Mar 14, 2019

Money appears to be no object for the 33 parents recently charged by federal authorities for paying bribes so that their kids could get in to elite schools like Georgetown, UCLA, and Yale.

The college admissions scandal that’s resulted in 50 people being charged in connection to a massive bribery scheme has only highlighted existing inequalities in the system.

That’s because money’s a big-time deterrent for students that can’t afford to pay for tuition. The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation released a report in 2017 that included data from a national survey. One-third of the students surveyed were high-achieving students from low-income backgrounds who said they were “discouraged” from applying to college because of the cost.

Tim Sullivan, the superintendent for the 16 schools that make up the Capitol Region Education Council, said the scandal has an impact on all CREC students because it upsets the competitive college process.

“If people are using unfair means to get an advantage in that process, it's not good for any student that either does not have the means to do that or has the means and chooses not to do something that's illegal or unethical,” Sullivan said.

The deck’s already stacked against students from low-income backgrounds, according to Sullivan, because he said that the biggest barrier in front of a high-quality college education is the total cost.

“Families that can afford to pay for college have a big advantage over kids that can’t afford to pay for college,” Sullivan said. “The kids that can’t afford to pay for college are often times subject to the financial aid packages they receive, whereas kids that can afford to pay for college can pick the school that fits their needs regardless of the financial aid package.”

There are about 8,500 kids from 71 towns that go to CREC schools. Sullivan said that 52 percent of them are on free or reduced lunch.