Skip to comments.Ivory Tower Scams
Posted on 08/20/2012 10:58:31 AM PDT by Shout Bits
Last week, Emory University admitted that it had a longstanding practice of lying about the quality of its student body. Top school officials intentionally overstated the SAT scores and academic achievements of incoming students. The obvious purpose for this fraud is to influence Emory's ranking among other top schools, which in turn yields increased revenues for the university. Other schools such as Villanova, University of Illinois, and Claremont McKenna have been caught in similar deceptions. The Old Time Media has largely played down these frauds, sometimes praising the fraudsters for coming clean. So, is this a serious issue? Is there a need for legal and criminal consequences? Yes, contrary to reporting, Emory orchestrated a significant financial fraud.
An Emory degree is a financial instrument in that it is an investment of $224,000 in exchange for the prospect of enhanced wages after graduation. Invest now, earn returns later a financial instrument. When people invest the equivalent of a mid-priced home, they expect that the institution selling such a product provide honest and complete information. In finance, the legal and ethical standards for disclosure prior to a sale are exacting. Apparently, in higher education, no such standards apply.
Worse still, much of these investments in higher education are funded by taxpayers. Student loans, almost solely the domain of the Federal Government, now total $1 trillion, and many will never be repaid. If schools misrepresent their qualifications, why should the Government fund them instead of prosecuting their administrators? Why should the Government fund Emory at all?
Of course SAT fraud is a small part of the overall fraud of higher education. The quality of a top liberal arts degree remains unchanged (or more accurately, not measurable), yet its cost continues to grow at three times the rate of inflation. It is true that liberal arts graduates typically earn more than high school graduates, but causality is doubtful. Very likely, those who would apply themselves to learning the evils of western culture would have applied themselves to another venture, even without a degree. Politicians regularly encourage everyone to attend college, but not every profession requires a college degree. Does a gender studies BA make for better plumbers or welders? Not everyone is cut out to be an engineer or a doctor, either.
Despite the fact that most professions do not require a four year degree, unrestricted funds are thrown at higher education. With no accountability and no specific benchmarks for success, the result has been runaway budgets. Even at state universities, massive spending and tuition hikes are the norm. As is common, the government's efforts to help have actually made higher education so expensive, hardly anyone can afford it. Instead, students burden themselves with impossible debt, based on a myth that the only path to success begins with a college degree.
Whenever the government dumps endless subsidies into a system, fraudsters appear to take advantage. Countrywide's Angelo Mozilo issued sweetheart loans to the politicians who enabled his company to sell unstable mortgage securities to Fannie Mae (and ultimately tax payers). The broader Wall Street scandal was enabled by cheap money dumped into the system by the Fed. Without boatloads of free government money, people are much more careful with their investment decisions, and higher education is no example.
Emory's administrators misrepresented the value of their degrees, for which they charge a quarter million dollars. In any other environment, people would be prosecuted for fraud and likely jailed. The government might respond as it usually does by enacting regulations. Just as Sarbanes Oxley and Dodd Frank did nothing to clean up their respective messes, likely so too will any SAT scandal regulations. The real answer is to get Washington out of the business of inflating education costs. Without the open spigot of grants and loans, costs will come to earth along with the incentives for fraud.
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My God! They want professors to work. What kind of madness is this?
I know a student who received a “full-ride” from Emory, and she’s no smarter than my daughter who received a music scholarship from University of South Carolina. The cache of getting a degree from Emory University doesn’t exist any longer. My music major daughter will receive an education as great, or greater than, Emory at a fraction of the cost - even as an out of state student.
Harvard admitted the Kennedys and the Obamadork.
Harvard graduated the Kennedys and the Obamadork.
When one of our supposedly top schools let these losers in (and out)...what’s to believe of any of their claims.
They don’t have no stinkin’ standards.
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