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College-Admission Scandal Draws Scrutiny in Washington

March 15, 2019
In The News

The admissions bribery scheme revealed this week in a federal indictment has prompted lawmakers in Washington to consider policies that could curtail the influence of wealth in college admissions.

Though the scandal concerned illegal bribery and racketeering charges—with more than 50 admissions consultants, college athletic coaches and parents indicted—it has resurfaced broader concerns about legal methods wealthy families regularly use to gain entrance to elite universities.

Among those matters drawing Washington’s attention are the tax-deductible status of donations to schools and binding early-decision admissions. Critics say the donations give wealthy donors an unfair advantage in admissions, and they say binding early-decision policies require that applicants attend a school if accepted early, depriving students of the chance to weigh different financial aid offers—and benefiting those who can afford to pay full tuition.

“This shows we have to focus even more on equity,” said Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D., Ore.), who added she expects the House Education Committee will investigate both university practices and test-prep companies.

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