Decent higher education is an essential step in human life as it provides a person with knowledge and opportunities to pursue specific careers. Despite that, some highly talented individuals give up on college and become successful and famous. Numerous people go without higher education because they do not have the necessary capabilities, resources, or reason to attend college. Either way is acceptable as long as people do not descend into unethical, immoral, or downright illegal activities to achieve what they want. Of course, it is often a dream to enter a prestigious and top education institution, but remarkable academic performance is needed. Alternatively, money and participation in fraudulent practices can help with the admission, as it turns out from the recent Rick Singer scandal. Such scandals present many ethical dilemmas and should be avoided to maintain an equal and honest society.
Singer had numerous connections within and without higher education institutions and created a network to trick the application process in prestigious colleges for those who could afford to pay. The central dilemma is that Singer’s fraudulent scheme contributes to rising economic inequality, further increasing the existing gap between rich and poor. The scandal is another example of how rich people use money for social privileges.
It is a common occurrence for wealthy families to “donate to colleges with the hope, or expectation, that it’ll get their kids a leg up in the admissions process” (Kingkade). Such a monetary approach to the education system completely ignores people who spent countless hours studying and preparing for the entrance test. Furthermore, the current dynamics of the rising percentage of graduates is one of the significant reasons for their underemployment in the US (Osborn). If even a part of these graduates is a fraud, it makes the employment situation unfair to everyone honest. Thus, practices like Singer’s case put individuals’ gain over society’s interests and are highly unethical and detrimental in the long term.
The next significant issue is that the parents in Singer’s case are all well-known and influential people with prior good publicity and reputation. They presented “themselves to the world as exemplary human beings” (Peretz). The realization puts into question seemingly the best of the best in society, namely social influencers and gurus. The scandal affected thousands of students and applicants, putting them under investigation (Fitz-Gibbon). That presents yet another ethical dilemma: it is legally and morally right to find those responsible or involved in fraudulent schemes, but it is also right not to suspect or judge anyone unduly. A couple of dozen individuals affect thousands, making such violations egoistic and irresponsible and investigation complex and possibly biased.
In sum, the scandal showcases choices wealthy parents make to help their children with education. While there is nothing wrong with ensuring children’s future, parents should also adhere to social and legal norms and set an example of morally acceptable conduct for their children. Jane Buckingham and many others built a facade of righteousness but were not loyal to their ideals, and their children were part of it (Peretz). Although William Singer was indicted and pleaded guilty, others like him indeed exist, urging education authorities to revise the application process making it stricter, and investigate all applicants for possible violations. The moral to be drawn from the scandal is that when people ignore their social and legal responsibilities using their social or economic status, they contribute to social inequalities and set up other members of society.
Fitz-Gibbon, Jorge. “Over 30 USC students probed in college admissions scandal” New York Post, 2019. Web.
Kingkade, Tyler. “How the College Admissions Scandal Is Different from the Other Ways Rich Parents Help Their Kids Get into School”. Town & Country. 2019. Web.
Osborn, Peter. “Do College Grads Really Earn More Than High School Grads?” Cornerstone University. 2016. Web.
Peretz, Evgenia. “To Cheat and Lie in L.A.: How the College-Admissions Scandal Ensnared the Richest Families in Southern California”. Vanity Fair, 2019. Web.