Want your son or daughter to be admitted to the university of his or her dreams? You can if your child lives abroad and you are willing to spend between $15,000 – $30,000. For that sum, a consultant will pad an admission packet with a false history and false recommendations. According to Erika Fry, “dirty applications” are a growing problem on college campuses. (“But You don’t Like to Read. Why Do You Want to Go to Harvard?” by Erika Fry, Fortune Magazine, 2/26/14, pg. 88)
The practice isn’t new, but in countries with emerging markets, a growing elite will consent to exorbitant fees to enhance their children’s social status by getting them admitted to an Ivy League school. To that end, consultants will write essays for the candidate and prep him or her for interviews so that “the lies stick.” (Ibid pg. 88.) Nor does the service stop with the student’s admission. For additional money, consultants will ghostwrite coursework, too.
As Fry points out, in some cultures this sort of help isn’t considered cheating, but a way of doing business. What concerns the author is the complicity of universities. Foreign students enrich campus coffers because they pay full tuition while homegrown scholars often depend upon grants or scholarships. Most shocking is that some schools actually pay agents to help them bolster foreign enrollment. (Ibid pg. 92. ) Money isn’t the sole reason. Prestige is also a factor. The more applications a school can field “the more selective and highly rated it will appear in influential college rankings.” (Ibid pg. 92)
A few universities have become embarrassed by statistics that show the growth of foreign enrollment at American Universities has jumped over the past few years from 4% to 10%. They have called for reform. (Ibid pg. 92) Whether they are sincere or not remains to be seen. Where money is concerned, our institutions of higher learning have exhibited ethical standards akin to some of the egregious practitioners of Wall Street. (See blogs 3/7/13, 10/17/13, 3/10/14 )
(Courtesy of iso.truman.edu)