College Cheating Scandal Shines Light On Unfair Admissions | TODAY

College Cheating Scandal Shines Light On Unfair Admissions | TODAY

August 29, 2019 67 By Stanley Isaacs


WHAT MANY HAVE BELIEVED FOR A WHILE, THAT IT’S NOT ALWAYS WHILE, THAT IT’S NOT ALWAYS FAIR. FAIR. KATE SNOW JOINS US WITH A CLOSER KATE SNOW JOINS US WITH A CLOSER LOOK. LOOK.>>GOOD MORNING, GUYS.>>GOOD MORNING, GUYS. FULL DISCLOSURE, JUST THE OTHER FULL DISCLOSURE, JUST THE OTHER NIGHT I SPENT THE NIGHT AT A NIGHT I SPENT THE NIGHT AT A HIGH SCHOOL MEETING ABOUT HIGH SCHOOL MEETING ABOUT COLLEGE ADMISSIONS. COLLEGE ADMISSIONS. YOU CAN ASK ANY PARENT LIKE ME YOU CAN ASK ANY PARENT LIKE ME OF A HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT, THIS OF A HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT, THIS PROCESS IS SO DAUNTING AND FOR PROCESS IS SO DAUNTING AND FOR SO MANY FAMILIES IT’S VERY SO MANY FAMILIES IT’S VERY STRESSFUL. STRESSFUL. WHO GETS IN, WHO DOESN’T CAN WHO GETS IN, WHO DOESN’T CAN FEEL REALLY ARBITRARY. FEEL REALLY ARBITRARY. ONE COLLEGE ADMISSIONS OFFICER ONE COLLEGE ADMISSIONS OFFICER SAYS IT’S NOT A PROCESS WHERE IF SAYS IT’S NOT A PROCESS WHERE IF YOU DO THE RIGHT THING YOU GET YOU DO THE RIGHT THING YOU GET IN. IN. IT’S A GAME. IT’S A GAME.>>Reporter: THIS MORNING>>Reporter: THIS MORNING COLLEGE STUDENT WHO IS DIDN’T COLLEGE STUDENT WHO IS DIDN’T CHEAT SPEAKING OUT ABOUT CHEAT SPEAKING OUT ABOUT INJUSTICE. INJUSTICE.>>IT’S JUST KIND OF LIKE A SLAP>>IT’S JUST KIND OF LIKE A SLAP IN THE FACE. IN THE FACE.>>THE FIRST LAWSUITS FILED SAY>>THE FIRST LAWSUITS FILED SAY THE SYSTEM RIGGED AFTER A WEEK THE SYSTEM RIGGED AFTER A WEEK FILLED WITH ALLEGATIONS OF THE FILLED WITH ALLEGATIONS OF THE UNBELIEVABLE THINGS PARENTS DID UNBELIEVABLE THINGS PARENTS DID TO TRY AND GET THEIR KIDS INTO TO TRY AND GET THEIR KIDS INTO ELITE SCHOOLS. ELITE SCHOOLS. ONE FATHER MICROMANAGING AN ONE FATHER MICROMANAGING AN IMAGE OF HIS SON PRETENDING TO IMAGE OF HIS SON PRETENDING TO PLAY WATER POLO TO GET HIM PLAY WATER POLO TO GET HIM RECRUITED AS AN ATHLETE ASKING A RECRUITED AS AN ATHLETE ASKING A GRAPHIC DESIGNER ANY CHANCE TO GRAPHIC DESIGNER ANY CHANCE TO PUT HIM IN A SETTING THAT LOOKS PUT HIM IN A SETTING THAT LOOKS LIKE AN OUTDOOR POLO POOL. LIKE AN OUTDOOR POLO POOL. ONE MOTHER SUBMITTING A PHOTO OF ONE MOTHER SUBMITTING A PHOTO OF HER SON’S HANDWRITING SO SOMEONE HER SON’S HANDWRITING SO SOMEONE TAKING THE A.C.T. COULD MATCH TAKING THE A.C.T. COULD MATCH HIS WRITING STYLE. HIS WRITING STYLE. HER MESSAGE, GOOD LUCK WITH HER MESSAGE, GOOD LUCK WITH THIS. THIS. THEIR ALLEGED CRIMINAL ACTS THEIR ALLEGED CRIMINAL ACTS PULLING BACK THE CURTAIN ON WHEN PULLING BACK THE CURTAIN ON WHEN A FORMER EDUCATION SECRETARY A FORMER EDUCATION SECRETARY CALLS A LARGER SYSTEMIC PROBLEM. CALLS A LARGER SYSTEMIC PROBLEM.>>THERE ARE SIGNIFICANT>>THERE ARE SIGNIFICANT ADVANTAGES FOR WEALTHY STUDENTS ADVANTAGES FOR WEALTHY STUDENTS AND WELL-CONNECTED STUDENTS IN AND WELL-CONNECTED STUDENTS IN THE COLLEGES ADMISSION PROCESS. THE COLLEGES ADMISSION PROCESS.>>Reporter: THERE ARE PLENTY OF>>Reporter: THERE ARE PLENTY OF LEGAL WAYS FOR WELL OFF FAMILIES LEGAL WAYS FOR WELL OFF FAMILIES TO STACK THE DECK. TO STACK THE DECK. 25% ARE HIRING PRIVATE COLLEGE. 25% ARE HIRING PRIVATE COLLEGE. HE SAYS CONSULTANTS ARE JUST THE HE SAYS CONSULTANTS ARE JUST THE BEGINNING. BEGINNING.>>ACCESS TO TUTORING, ACCESS TO>>ACCESS TO TUTORING, ACCESS TO MENTORING, TO INTERNSHIPS, MENTORING, TO INTERNSHIPS, ACCESS TO DECISION-MAKING AND ACCESS TO DECISION-MAKING AND GUIDANCE THAT STUDENTS WITHOUT GUIDANCE THAT STUDENTS WITHOUT WEALTH WOULDN’T HAVE ACCESS TO. WEALTH WOULDN’T HAVE ACCESS TO.>>CONSULTANT SARAH HALL VERSON>>CONSULTANT SARAH HALL VERSON USED TO BE ASSOCIATE DEAN OF USED TO BE ASSOCIATE DEAN OF ADMISSIONS AT THE UNIVERSITY OF ADMISSIONS AT THE UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA. PENNSYLVANIA.>>THIS IS NOT A FAIR PROCESS.>>THIS IS NOT A FAIR PROCESS. IT’S ONLY FAIR SOMETIMES FOR THE IT’S ONLY FAIR SOMETIMES FOR THE KIDS WHO PLAY UNFAIR OR THE KIDS WHO PLAY UNFAIR OR THE FAMILIES WHO PLAY UNFAIR. FAMILIES WHO PLAY UNFAIR.>>Reporter: THE AVERAGE COLLEGE>>Reporter: THE AVERAGE COLLEGE ACCEPTANCE RATE IN THE U.S. IS ACCEPTANCE RATE IN THE U.S. IS 65%. 65%. HARVARD, THE MOST COMPETITIVE HARVARD, THE MOST COMPETITIVE HAD A 4.6% ACCEPTANCE RATE FOR HAD A 4.6% ACCEPTANCE RATE FOR THE CLASS OF 2022. THE CLASS OF 2022.>>WE HAVE MULTIPLE SCHOOLS THAT>>WE HAVE MULTIPLE SCHOOLS THAT ARE GETTING OVER 50,000 ARE GETTING OVER 50,000 APPLICATIONS PER YEAR. APPLICATIONS PER YEAR. THEY HAVE THE SAME NUMBER OF THEY HAVE THE SAME NUMBER OF SPOTS AS THEY DID EVEN FIVE, TEN SPOTS AS THEY DID EVEN FIVE, TEN YEARS AGO, BUT THEY’RE GETTING YEARS AGO, BUT THEY’RE GETTING MORE APPLICATIONS. MORE APPLICATIONS.>>Reporter: AND FAMILIES WHO>>Reporter: AND FAMILIES WHO CAN AFFORD TO MAKE A HUGE CAN AFFORD TO MAKE A HUGE DONATION GET A LEG UP. DONATION GET A LEG UP. JARED KUSHNER, THE PRESIDENT’S JARED KUSHNER, THE PRESIDENT’S SON-IN-LAW AND SENIOR ADVISER SON-IN-LAW AND SENIOR ADVISER WAS REPORTEDLY ACCEPTED TO WAS REPORTEDLY ACCEPTED TO HARVARD NOT LONG AFTER HIS HARVARD NOT LONG AFTER HIS FATHER PLEDGED $2.5 MILLION TO FATHER PLEDGED $2.5 MILLION TO THE SCHOOL. THE SCHOOL.>>IF A BUILDING IS DONATED,>>IF A BUILDING IS DONATED, THAT’S A PRETTY SURE BET THAT THAT’S A PRETTY SURE BET THAT THE CHILD IS PROBABLY GOING TO THE CHILD IS PROBABLY GOING TO BE ADMITTED. BE ADMITTED.>>Reporter: NO SECRET THE>>Reporter: NO SECRET THE SYSTEM ALSO FAVORS ATHLETES. SYSTEM ALSO FAVORS ATHLETES.>>THEY WANT WINNING TEAMS>>THEY WANT WINNING TEAMS BECAUSE IT BUILDS GREAT SCHOOL BECAUSE IT BUILDS GREAT SCHOOL SPIRIT ON CAMPUS. SPIRIT ON CAMPUS. IT HELPS ALUMNI FEEL MORE IT HELPS ALUMNI FEEL MORE ENGAGED AND SOMETIMES ALUMNI ARE ENGAGED AND SOMETIMES ALUMNI ARE MORE WILLING TO GIVE A BIGGER MORE WILLING TO GIVE A BIGGER DONATION. DONATION.>>THEY RECOMMEND STUDENTS FIND>>THEY RECOMMEND STUDENTS FIND A HOOK, SOMETHING THEY’RE A HOOK, SOMETHING THEY’RE UNIQUELY GOOD AT BUT IT’S UNIQUELY GOOD AT BUT IT’S GETTING CRAZY. GETTING CRAZY. ONE FORMER ADMISSIONS OFFICER ONE FORMER ADMISSIONS OFFICER TOLD US HE’S HEARD OF STUDENTS TOLD US HE’S HEARD OF STUDENTS SENDING BAKED GOODS, SINGING SENDING BAKED GOODS, SINGING TELEGRAMS WITH THEIR TELEGRAMS WITH THEIR APPLICATIONS. APPLICATIONS.>>OH, COME ON.>>OH, COME ON.>>ALL THAT SAID, THE EXPERTS WE>>ALL THAT SAID, THE EXPERTS WE SPOKE WITH AND WE WERE TALKING SPOKE WITH AND WE WERE TALKING ABOUT THIS ON THE BREAK, ABOUT THIS ON THE BREAK, SAVANNAH, THEY ALL SAY DON’T SAVANNAH, THEY ALL SAY DON’T JUST THINK ABOUT A LIMITED JUST THINK ABOUT A LIMITED NUMBER OF SCHOOLS. NUMBER OF SCHOOLS. DON’T JUST THINK IVY LEAGUE. DON’T JUST THINK IVY LEAGUE. THERE ARE HUNDREDS AND HUNDREDS THERE ARE HUNDREDS AND HUNDREDS OF SCHOOLS OUT THERE THAT CAN OF SCHOOLS OUT THERE THAT CAN SERVE YOUR STUDENT WELL. SERVE YOUR STUDENT WELL.>>I THINK THAT’S A GREAT POINT.>>I THINK THAT’S A GREAT POINT. IT SEEMS TO UNFAIRLY PROP UP IT SEEMS TO UNFAIRLY PROP UP THESE TOP TEN, TOP 20 SCHOOLS. THESE TOP TEN, TOP 20 SCHOOLS. I WENT TO A JUNIOR COLLEGE. I WENT TO A JUNIOR COLLEGE. DON’T UNDERESTIMATE THE RESPECT DON’T UNDERESTIMATE THE RESPECT YOU CAN HAVE FOR A LEARNING YOU CAN HAVE FOR A LEARNING INSTITUTE IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD, INSTITUTE IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD, YOUR HOMETOWN. YOUR HOMETOWN.>>YOU HAVEN’T DONE SO BADLY.>>YOU HAVEN’T DONE SO BADLY.>>ABSOLUTELY NOT.>>ABSOLUTELY NOT.>>HERE’S THE THING A LOT OF>>HERE’S THE THING A LOT OF FOLKS HAVE COME TO REALIZE OVER FOLKS HAVE COME TO REALIZE OVER THE PAST WEEK, OUR ADMISSIONS THE PAST WEEK, OUR ADMISSIONS PROCESS, IT’S BROKEN. PROCESS, IT’S BROKEN. IT’S FLAWED. IT’S FLAWED.>>IT IS.>>IT IS.>>HOW DO WE FIX IT?>>HOW DO WE FIX IT?>>GOOD QUESTION.>>GOOD QUESTION. I ASKED THAT OF THE EXPERTS AND I ASKED THAT OF THE EXPERTS AND THERE’S KIND OF DIFFERING THERE’S KIND OF DIFFERING OPINIONS. OPINIONS. SOME SAID TRANSPARENCY. SOME SAID TRANSPARENCY. WE TALKED TO THE PRESIDENT OF WE TALKED TO THE PRESIDENT OF HUNTER COLLEGE ON FRIDAY WHO HUNTER COLLEGE ON FRIDAY WHO SAID WE’RE GOING TO BE MORE SAID WE’RE GOING TO BE MORE TRANSPARENT ABOUT WHO WE ACCEPT TRANSPARENT ABOUT WHO WE ACCEPT P WHY WE ACCEPT THEM. P WHY WE ACCEPT THEM. THAT WILL HELP PARENTS NAVIGATE. THAT WILL HELP PARENTS NAVIGATE. IT’S ALSO A BUSINESS. IT’S ALSO A BUSINESS. THE MORE SELECTIVE THE COLLEGES, THE MORE SELECTIVE THE COLLEGES, THE MORE PRESTIGIOUS, THE HIGHER THE MORE PRESTIGIOUS, THE HIGHER THE TUITION THEY CAN CHARGE. THE TUITION THEY CAN CHARGE. UNLESS OUR WHOLE SYSTEM WERE TO UNLESS OUR WHOLE SYSTEM WERE TO CHANGE AND BECOME ALL PUBLIC. CHANGE AND BECOME ALL PUBLIC.>>YOU REPORTED ON THIS AND>>YOU REPORTED ON THIS AND YOU’RE IN THE MIDDLE OF IT. YOU’RE IN THE MIDDLE OF IT. SO WHAT’S YOUR ONE TAKE AWAY FOR SO WHAT’S YOUR ONE TAKE AWAY FOR A PARENT WATCHING WITH A JUNIOR A PARENT WATCHING WITH A JUNIOR IN HIGH SCHOOL? IN HIGH SCHOOL?>>THE THING THAT I JUST SAID IS>>THE THING THAT I JUST SAID IS WHAT I’M TRYING TO TELL MY SON, WHAT I’M TRYING TO TELL MY SON, WHICH IS THERE ARE A LOT OF WHICH IS THERE ARE A LOT OF OPTIONS OUT THERE. OPTIONS OUT THERE.>>THAT’S A GOOD POINT.>>THAT’S A GOOD POINT.>>YOU’RE NOT NECESSARILY GOING>>YOU’RE NOT NECESSARILY GOING TO GO TO THE TOP, TOP, TOP. TO GO TO THE TOP, TOP, TOP.>>BY THE WAY, YOU DON’T HAVE>>BY THE WAY, YOU DON’T HAVE TO. TO.>>THAT’S MY POINT TOO.>>THAT’S MY POINT TOO. AND TAKE MIEDPRIDE IN SOME OF TH AND TAKE MIEDPRIDE IN SOME OF TH LOWER ONE. LOWER ONE.>>SOMETIMES BEING A BIG FISH IN>>SOMETIMES BEING A BIG FISH IN A SMALLER POND IS THE BETTER WAY A SMALLER POND IS THE BETTER WAY TO GO. TO GO. THERE’S A LOT OF WAYS TO CHASE THERE’S A LOT OF WAYS TO CHASE YOUR DREAMS. YOUR DREAMS.>>I’M TRYING TO JUST BREATHE>>I’M TRYING TO JUST BREATHE ASK NOT PUT A TON OF PRESSURE ON ASK NOT PUT A TON OF PRESSURE ON MY KID. MY KID.>>SO YOU’RE NOT GOING TO DO THE>>SO YOU’RE NOT GOING TO DO THE SINGING TELEGRAM? SINGING TELEGRAM? [ LAUGHTER ] [ LAUGHTER ]>>PROBABLY NOT.