On Tuesday, the FBI charged dozens of wealthy parents in an alleged cheating and bribery scheme to get their children admitted into elite colleges. Celebrities Lori Loughlin of Full House and Felicity Huffman of Desperate Housewives were allegedly among those involved in the scandal.

It is very unfortunate if wealthy celebrities have resorted to cheating and bribery to put their children into elite schools. Doing so potentially deprived less fortunate students of the chance to get into these schools based on merit.

According to Mary Clare Amselem, a Heritage policy analyst focused on education, Americans should not be surprised to learn that the higher education system is broken. While the student loan system has put students and taxpayers into $1.5 trillion of debt, many degree programs are failing to provide students with any marketable skills. New proposals from the left, such as loan forgiveness and “free college,” will only perpetuate this broken system.

Read more from Mary Clare Amselem’s explanation of the problem with higher education today

Watch Mary Clare discuss the college admissions scandal on C-SPAN Washington Journal

How should lawmakers address the problems in the higher education system?

Comments (53)

Jerome Hughes - March 15, 2019

Get the Federal Gov’t out of education!

Victor - March 15, 2019

Just like a liberal to demand that everyone else take action to aid some issue, only to find the definition of hypocrisy in their real life. Paying money to influence admission into a college is the ultimate slap in the face of a deserving but poor, tax paying American. How disgraceful! Wondering what they paid to get their precious spoil brat children into their local private school?

William Coates - March 15, 2019

The primary problem is the prevalence of leftist professors and their promotion of leftist student organizations. This is by choice of the administrators in their hiring practices, often influenced by faculty bias. Getting the government out of the student loan business and the research-grant business would be a good start.

Michelle - March 15, 2019

Get taxpayers out of so called “higher” education

Michelle Aime - March 15, 2019

Get the tax payers out of this so-called “higher” education

Ron Renneberg - March 15, 2019

It seems like there are a lot of things broken in this country, the education system is one of these things. It all so seems like the problem starts at the same place, Congress.

Glenn - March 15, 2019

Make colleges follow graduates and publish reports in effective use of their degrees. Minimize courses of study that have limited marketability.

Alita R. Arnold - March 15, 2019

Why are we subsidizing our Schools and Colleges? Better hiring of College Professors with UNBIASED views, Diversity and Open dialog of views and opinions without intimidation. ‘NOT’ the Faculties way OR you don’t pass nonsense. College once was for higher learning, opening minds, diversity, new ideas and debates with respect and tolerance for others.
I also agree with William Coates, get Government out of the Student Loan Business, research Grants.
Agree with Trump too, College Administrators should take a much bigger role in assisting their Students with their Student Loans.
MORE Trade schools should be a Hugh push in High Schools as alternatives to College. The FOCUS is better, the time and cost is less with jobs waiting for skilled Graduates. ”Do what you love and love what you do ” makes a Happier individual doing what he/she loves and ultimately a more productive person and employee. I could go on and on, as so much is wrong, but another time. Thanks……..

Norma A Pond - March 15, 2019

Go back to simple and stop all the complicated maneuvers and stop trying to be politically correct.
If an applying student has the grades, if they have the extra circular activities,
then they are to be considered. If there are a million people with the all the same credentials, then: preference to Americans, so many foreign. If some one has to go to a sister school for a year before they can get in then so be it. There are many schools that may not have the name but are just as good for their real purposes.

Reese Munch - March 15, 2019

The FBI should investigate all the Colleges and Universities and their admissions departments for accepting bribes and gifts.
Efficiency in all higher learning facilities should be studied also. A College education is entirely toooo expensive!!!!

David Zodun - March 15, 2019

In order to make college admissions more merit based, do away with application questions that ask about race, ethnicity or nationality

James Koontz - March 15, 2019

Perhaps enforcing existing laws/regulations would be a good start. As with many laws violators are not held responsible but new laws are passed, but don’t address lack of enforcement.

Sherrill - March 15, 2019

Stop allowing universities to give large salary increases10-20% when inflation is 1-2%. They just raise tuition because the government will let them borrow money when they are still teens. Liberals profs and students do not understand economics and just think the government will bail them out. 21 should be min age.

Bill Bland - March 15, 2019

Agree completely with Mr Coates

Richard - March 15, 2019

First thing is to get the damn leftist teachers out of the system. They got their degrees from the Joseph Goebbels school of propaganda.

Nancy Thornburg - March 15, 2019

Cut the cost & time it takes to get a college degree by not requiring general education classes & making electives optional for those who want & can afford them.

Steve Standridge - March 15, 2019

Privatize the student loan program and encourage trade school attendance.

I don’t think the universities can be salvaged, though.

Harold Wiese - March 15, 2019

The problems are many-Not enough room to comment here.

w. June - March 15, 2019

Ask the children!! They can tell you if cheating makes a cheater!! One must hate their children if they teach cheating is the way to win! The pit you dig by cheating will have to be covered up and the poor children buried in the process! All because of your poor self worth! Pity !

Mike Randall - March 15, 2019

A more important question, for me, is this: Why haven’t free market principles cured the ills of higher education? Why doesn’t competition work in higher education the way it does in other markets? I would really like to hear the experts at Heritage explain this, and offer ideas to remove the barriers that prevent free choice from forcing change.

Frank roberts - March 15, 2019

The Dept of Education controls what colleges get grants and should use that authority to curb the liberal idiocy that now rules education at ALL levers.

Pat Ellis - March 15, 2019

Any student getting into college by fraudulent means should be expelled immediately!!!

Don - March 16, 2019

Eliminate all athletes programs for 5 years.

dennis grasmick - March 16, 2019

Teach not preach, fire all liberals! No gov loans, lower tuition by 50%. Get bact to the basics.

RJ Rucker - March 16, 2019

Higher ed is a breeding ground for redistribution. Student that do not
qualify for loans of grands etc. pay extra
to offset that loss of funds. I ask one
mba student if you get a grant etc where
does those funds come from to offset your
free ride. It come from the paying students.
which is redistribution. Am I right???

Sarah Sumner, PhD, MBA - March 16, 2019

Sadly, Christian higher education is broken too. We have failed by aping the world, by depending on government loans to float bank loans, and by failing to hold decision makers accountable to carry out the stated mission statements of these institutions. Debt ratios threaten many schools, and where there is excessive debt, there is usually a culture of lying. When top leaders routinely lie, students are not taught by example to tell the truth. Without truth, we cannot address our problems, much less solve them. I am glad this scandal was exposed and pray that it segues us into a very needed season of reformation and restoraton of higher education, including Christian higher education.

Dr. Charles L Perry - March 16, 2019

Selective admission policies and practices designed in response to income or racial disparities suggest quotas. Keep it simple and just have a level playing field and settle on the academics of the person applying for entry into the academy…not because they are rich or poor; or black, brown, yellow or white!

Thanks Cohen - March 16, 2019

This must be stopped. Keep up the good work

Ron Jarrett - March 16, 2019

1. Stop government funding of college programs that do not result in marketable skills. Easy to say, hard to control, but could use prior 5 year rolling graduate employment data. 2. Get more conservative educators into college positions. (Affirmative action for conservatives!). 3. Withhold govt funding for higher ed who raise tuitions, fees, etc beyond inflation level. (See Purdue Univ where these have not increased since Mitch Daniel’s became president 5 years ago.)

Mrs. Phyllis Eix - March 16, 2019

That’s a tall order and will require a return to merit based consideration of all applicants, and honesty on the part of all applicants. Consequences for any “gaming of the system” too, for starters.

Susan Rose - March 16, 2019

Resumes should be “blind” as to names and addresses of applicants so that registrars don’t see gender, ethnicity or anything more than applicants’s ‘qualifications i.e. grades, extra cuticular activities and sports for entire highschool career. After a school picks an applicant on his merits, and only after, should the applicant be named. To get a certain number of Asians, African American, Caucasian,etc is wrong. Merit should be the be all that’s considered! I have always been against affirmative action

James M Diehl - March 16, 2019

Our federal government should not be subsidizing post high school education nor should it be lending money to students for post high school. Our higher level education system should be given an opportunity to stand or fall on its own

Raymond Pavlik - March 16, 2019

What percentage of athletes that receive grants and free loans actually go thru college go for a education?

Dee Sutherland - March 16, 2019

I don’t believe lawmakers can be trusted to correct a problem in which they are a part of. The wealthy and well connected have rigged the system for themselves and don’t want any changes. The whole thing is called the swamp!

Linda Sandel - March 16, 2019

Prosecute all involved to the full extent of the law. Set a precedent that illegal behavior will not be tolerated in our education system. Students deserve a fair admissions process. No quotas for minorities. Merit based only.

Charles Hawkins - March 16, 2019

Protect free speech.

R. Dawson - March 16, 2019

If you want a higher education, earn it!! Get the government out of lending business. They do a lousy job of it in the first place. As for the cheating to get excepted into a so called “elite” university, it doesn’t surprise me. They have been giving athletes special consideration for years, so no surprise when everyone else wants to bend the rules and get special treatment also.

Mary Domitrovic - March 16, 2019

I suggest that all college students begin in an affordable, close to home two-year college. This will give them a solid foundation of college life while allowing them to better identify their chosen field of study. No college (2 or 4 year) should be able to accept a student if they don’t meet the basic requirements.

john przybyszewski - March 16, 2019

Perhaps we should put the university
administrators in jail,
They are the one’s responsible for this
problem

Marie Martin - March 16, 2019

The Department of Education needs to be eliminated and start all over again. It should’ve been done a lot time again. I believe President Reagan wanted to dismantle it but did not happen. Our children and grandchildren are been bombarded every day with poisonous ideas against our blessed country. The left has been very successful taking over the American Education System, unfortunately, we have the responsability to turn this around and save this country .With President Trump will be possible.

Mary Johnson - March 16, 2019

Obama corrupted the IRS, FBI, Health care, took over student loans. Why are we surprised at corruption in college acceptance practices. It is time for a lean government. Cut the size of government! When elementary children are asked to choose a gender, it is time for government to get out of education all together. Medicare for all will bring even bigger problems.

Joe Splavec - March 16, 2019

The college officials that accepted bribes should be sentenced to significant time in jail.

The people that paid the bribes should also be sent to jail.

If these two groups serve jail sentences it should discourage this type of behavior in the future.

Fred R. Johnson - March 16, 2019

Let’s grant at least 25% of our college scholarships to students of higher grade point levels, REGARDLESS OF THEIR FAMILY FINANCIAL LEVEL. This would, I believe, allow many of our bright middle class students, (the “cream of the crop”, so to speak), to get the higher education and skills they need to keep the USA at the front of the world economics, without putting them into extremely large borrowing debt that will take the better part of their early lifetimes to pay back. We can, of course, also maintain our scholarship levels for those whom the Left regard as “disadvantaged minorities” who see higher education as “a right”, regardless of their abilities and their future contribution to keeping the USA a leading world economic producer.

Ann Kyle - March 17, 2019

Clear out cheating. Teach facts, not opinions. Teach thinking, not propaganda. Teach skills that will prepare for jobs. Teach citizenship. Teach the arts, sciences, history, language.

Mike Cranny - March 17, 2019

Get the Federal govt out of the student loan business. All it did was to allow colleges to raise tuition and add more admin, at the expense of the students. If students default on the loan then the college needs to pay for part of the defaulted amount. This will remove the incentive to accept poorly qualified students or degrees, courses or careers that do not support loan repayment.

Skip - March 17, 2019

If I am Black brown or yellow I get a break in college if I am a football player basketball player some sport expert I get a break. Why shouldn’t wealthy get a break also.

larry - March 18, 2019

education loans should be like home loans, you can only borrow a percentage of the extimated value of the education to be received in income enhancement over a five year period of time. Anything else would be a fradulent action on the part of the lender and the college proposing the loan.

Jo Ann Bjorkman - March 18, 2019

I’m confused by this statement. “It is very unfortunate if wealthy celebrities have resorted to cheating and bribery to put their children into elite schools. Doing so potentially deprived less fortunate students of the chance to get into these schools based on merit.” I compare it to Armstrong Williams editorial revealing how minority, low-scoring students are preferred for admission. I assume that somewhere in the middle are students of any color, any income, with good grades, that do not get accepted because there are not enough spots for cheaters and the honest. Is that right? I am making arrangements to sponsor a perpetual college scholarship in honor of my Mom. I am disheartened to learn of this unfair admission practice. I will pray specifically that my money will make it to a truly deserving individual.

James Schmerbauch - March 18, 2019

Eliminate federal funding for colleges, with the possible exception of partial tuition paid for veterans. The federal government should not be involved with state and local education either. Fifty state “laboratories” would provide competition and improved primary & secondary education. Federally provided Common Core was disaster and has set us back several years.

Mac - March 19, 2019

The only way that the education systems (basis and higher), is for Congress and the Lobbyist that support them to remove themselves, ha, ha, from corrupting the total education environment. Congress need to stop employing and promoting those graduates that are in the ‘political correct’ arena and the controllers of the economy and legal systems should do the same.

Frederick D Allen - March 20, 2019

First break the back of the NEA that rules the entire country’s education system on a national, state, county, and local basis. Members are told who to vote for, ie. rigging the election of local, county, state, and national politicians. This has been going on throughout my 43 year career in college education. The curriculum is next. It needs a complete re-evaluation and redirection to what makes sense, practical subjects, and hands-on teaching, (most teachers have no clue outside their textbooks). Then there’s the testing put on by the states. Most that I have seen have been developed by state personnel that have no idea how to write a test question. We need test item writers that know how to test for what is needed, less ambiguous, clear one answer items, and able to produce reliable, valid questions. Given more time and space, I could go on, but this is sufficient for now.

nancy jones - March 21, 2019

I am thrilled that this scandal finally broke;;;;;;I have witnessed far too much of this, as a 42 yr. high school teacher;;;;;;;;;I agree with practically everyone here;;;;;;;;;get govt. out of education, and college should be a priviledge, if qualified, not a right! It is appalling how many grades are changed for special students and athletes in high school;;;;;;;;a complete makeover is needed and now while we have a leader in the white house! I agree completely with William, and students seek liberal teachers more for grades than to learn anything! I hope we are all paying close attention now, especially as taxpayers, thanks, Nancy Jones

LANCE Johnson - April 6, 2019

I feel that the people that encouraged, & accepted the Bribes & the schools that this happened in, were the people that had everything to “Gain” from the dollars accepted, & therefore are more at fault than the People that actually paid the bribes.
They accepted the Bribes for their gain.’

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