Alexis Rapoza –Anchor Staff
In season one of “Desperate Housewives,” Felicity Huffman’s character, Lynette Scavo, desperately wants her twin sons to be admitted to an elite private school; she says “A generous donation will ensure our kids beat ‘em out.” The amount of that generous donation? Fifteen thousand dollars.
So why exactly does this matter? Felicity Huffman was recently one of 50 people charged in bribing college admission counselors and coaches in order for their children to gain admission to top schools. Ironically, Felicity Huffman paid an SAT prep teacher $15,000 to correct her daughter’s answers on the test and aid her in completing her college entrance exam. I guess sometimes life really does imitate art.
So why do I, a Rhode Island College student, care about what happens at colleges that I don’t even attend? The answer is simple: Felicity Huffman and the other 49 people charged in this scandal are examples of the privileges people in the top 10 percent have over those of us who don’t have the ability to pay off coaches and admissions officers.
Children of celebrities and people born into money are at birth assigned certain privileges that inevitably provide them with several advantages. At a young age, they have access to elite elementary and high schools and highly qualified private tutors, as well as built in connections with whichever career field their family members are in. To be honest, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.
I think using the opportunities and resources provided to you is excellent, but what I don’t think is fair is when people like Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin use money and bribery to secure their child’s luxurious education. Lori Loughlin allegedly paid the rowing coach at the University of Southern California $50,000 to designate her two daughters as “recruits” to the rowing team even though neither of them had ever rowed before. Loughlin’s daughters took two spots away from students who could’ve potentially gained admission to USC and rowed for the team. Those two spots could’ve been filled by someone who actually rowed rather than someone who proudly stated that they “don’t really even care about school.”
This college admission scandal shines a light on how unfair college admissions truly are. People with money and of high social status are almost guaranteed admission to top schools, while low and middle class students are staying up all night studying for the SATs and are rejected not because of their capability, but because of a rich person’s bribe.
College enrollment rates are rising and this scandal leads me to wonder if higher education is truly that — education, or if it’s a business disguising itself as education. Recently I discovered that USC’s motto is “PALMAM QUI MERUIT FERAT” which translates to “let whoever earns the palm bear it.”
I have to wonder if some of the students there earn it, or did they pay for it? Let’s ask Aunt Becky.