Last Updated:July 31 @ 08:55 am

Rasmussen: To Fight Inequality, It's Time to End the College Admissions Scam

By Scott Rasmussen

There's a strong desire among many Americans today to address a growing problem of income inequality. That desire helped President Obama raise taxes on upper-income Americans a few months ago.

It's reflected in the fact that just 35 percent believe the U.S. economy is fair to the middle class, and only 41 percent believe it's fair to those willing to work hard. Still, it's not really the inequality that bothers people. After all, 65 percent believe that it's fair for those who create very successful companies to become very rich. The problem comes when some people earn big bucks simply because they can game the system in ways that aren't available to most Americans.

In America today, one of the biggest parts of gaming the system unfairly can be traced to the elite universities. Those who graduate from a top school have the credentials and connections to do well in life. It doesn't even matter how well they did in school or how hard they are willing to work.

Americans strongly believe that those who get more done should be paid more than those with a better education. But they don't see the system working that way.

This wouldn't be a problem if admissions to elite schools were based solely on finding the most qualified students. If a well-qualified poor or middle-class student had an equal chance of getting into a top school, Americans would embrace the result. But whether it's Harvard, Yale or any other elite university, the admissions process is designed to favor the wealthy and well-connected.

Elite schools give preferences to the children of those who previously attended the school. They also give preferences and special treatment to the children of large donors. These special preferences allow the well-connected to get into an elite university at the expense of more qualified students who don't have friends in high places.

Few Americans see this as fair. Just 38 percent believe it's fair for alumni children to receive special preferences. Not surprisingly, there is a clear income divide on this question. Most people who make at least $100,000 a year think such legacy preferences are fine. Most who earn less don't share that view.

In other words, those who benefit from the status quo think it's fair. Those who are discriminated against disagree.

Americans have a clear view of the way college admissions should work. Seventy-one percent believe it's best for our country if only the most qualified students are accepted. Seventy-eight percent believe admissions departments should not be allowed to know how much the parents of an applicant give to a school.

So far, this issue has not become a focal point for the populist mood sweeping the country. That's because just 40 percent recognize that our elite schools give such preferences to legacy students and the children of large donors. The awareness is much higher among those who benefit from the status quo.

But there are warning signs on the horizon. If a school gives admissions preferences to children of large donors, just 37 percent believe donations to the school should be tax-deductible. Americans don't mind private clubs. They just don't think taxpayers should fund them.

To fight income inequality in America, you need to fight the private club that gives special preference to the wealthy and well-connected. That means either making the college admissions process more equal or placing less value on the credential of graduating from a self-selecting club.

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To find out more about Scott Rasmussen, and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit www.creators.com.

COPYRIGHT 2013 SCOTT RASMUSSEN

DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM

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7 Comments

  1. PATRIOTComment by PATRIOT
    April 5, 2013 @ 11:52 am

    The wealthy and connected are not the only group that game the college admission system. We should also mention diversity and affirmitive action programs that have allowed less qualified minorities to game college admissions for years. Both systems denigh the acceptance of best qualified students.

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    • WardMDComment by WardMD
      April 5, 2013 @ 8:09 pm

      I couldn’t agree more!

      For HOW LONG is “Affirmative Preference” going to be QUALIFICATION IGNORANT?

      I, myself, didn’t go past local Junior College, because my grades weren’t stellar (no scholarships for me), and my parents simply weren’t rich enough to pay my way, nor poor enough to get special treatment – but I EARN a respectable six-figure salary. No, I don’t work in “daddy’s company”, nor am I a “winner in life’s lottery”… I learned a SKILL (ON MY OWN) that earns me a decent salary.

      Would I have LIKED to go to college? I guess so, but I’m doing quite well without that precious degree, thank you!

      What BOTHERS ME, is that QUALIFIED individuals who WANT to go to college are being DENIED access to the colleges and universities of their choice, because Admissions Officers place a HIGHER importance on the color of the skin of the applicant, rather than on the applicant’s ABILITIES (qualifications)!

      WHEN is this SPECIAL TREATMENT going to STOP? How many GENERATIONS have to suffer before Blacks (or Admissions Officers) feel they are “EQUAL”?

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    • freedomfighterComment by freedomfighter
      April 6, 2013 @ 1:06 am

      I have to agree mostly with your statements. I too was denied scholarships to the Universities, but I had something else. I had gumption, a true will to succeed, and a drive which most do not possess. My parents too were not wealthy, nor were they poor enough to receive any aid in tuitions. They taught me values, work ethics, and to put money away for a rainy day. I put 2/3rds of my pay away.
      I worked three jobs, took no vacations, time off, and quite rarely sick leave. I did make a fair living in this fashion, but I could see so much farther ahead, to where I wanted to be in life, and went forward full speed in a junior college, then the university of Reno, which was much less, but almost equal scholastics as many of the biggies, Yale, Rutgers, Harvard, etc. I am now Senior Vice President of a Company here in Nevada, and also make a large 6 figure salary. I have been Blessed, with a will to succeed, and a closeness with God. I believe at least a great percentage of where I am, and What I am, is a result of this closeness between He and I.
      My Mother, God rest Her Soul, and my Father as well, taught me all the things I needed to be successful in life, and to be a good spirit to those I come into contact with during my lifetime.
      Personally, I have found that the gaining, or loosing of a position you are capable of handling, mostly comes from the Interview. Along with the smarts for the position, you have to know the right answers to the interviewer, Keep strong eye Contact, and tell him or her, what they Need to hear, not what they think they want to hear. I will be a asset to your Company, and can increase your bottom line, without cutting quality of products. As you can see, I also took courses, and hands on
      Production consultant. This is where I can do more for you than a person with a Higher Degree, from a famous college. You need me here.
      Body language is also very important, and ranks high on the interviewers list. This is where, no matter how many degrees you possess, the position sought is either won or loss. If you have a admirable work history, and very respectable Recommendations, along with your Scholastic achievements, it is just a matter of letting the interviewer know that they need you to fill this position.

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  2. pistol packing mamaComment by txgoatlady
    April 5, 2013 @ 1:39 pm

    They have a point about government funding for what is essentially a private club. I personally feel like you can get a better education at less prestigious universities where the professors actually teach the students.

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  3. freedomfighterComment by freedomfighter
    April 5, 2013 @ 5:00 pm

    not a new concept at all. They are pushing qualifications to certain jobs, while disallowing , some with a less grade average, or from a family which has no-one to speak for them, and help their child be employed.

    One of the biggest problems in today’s job market is strictly, almost certainly in the UNION element.
    Once upon a time Unions were a great part of our working system, they were then, genuinely concerned for their members, but for the last 10-15 years, it has become all about how much they (Union bosses) make. They are pushing our job market to the breaking point, when in this economy, and job scarcity, they still push the envelope.

    A perfect example, was the fairly recent strike against Hostess. The Company had told the Unions that they did not make enough, now, to try to increase the wage demands. And in fact, They would have to close their doors if the Unions persisted in their demands. Well, we all know the story by now, that they did in fact get forced out of Business, and all the employees who had worked for them, now were unemployed.
    I don’t know about you, but that seems to me to be complete lunacy.
    Rather than back off their strike, they made hundreds of workers in their over all company locations.
    Let’s see, this bit of action, netted them nothing, but to put their own Union workers, with no job, no salary, and no upcoming paychecks.
    I think this is the most ignorant thing I have ever seen, or heard of from any Unionized organization.

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  4. burningmanComment by burningman
    April 6, 2013 @ 7:50 am

    When I went to college, the university I went to had a point system for children of Alumni. If one of your parents graduated from the college, they would add 1 point to your ACT score, both parents, 2. My parents didn’t graduate from the school, even so this seemed fair to me. It wasn’t an outrageous preference.

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  5. e66lithComment by e66lith
    April 8, 2013 @ 1:04 am

    Just to quibble, “more equal” is nonsensical, as George Orwell observed. Equal is an absolute.

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