Friday, February 19, 2021
L. Burke Files, Roger E. Meiners and Andrew P. Morriss (Financial Examinations & Evaluations, Inc., University of Texas at Arlington and Texas A&M School of Innovation) have posted Corruption in University Admissions and the Administrative Allocation of Scarce Goods on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
The Varsity Blues investigation uncovered a seamy side of university admissions. Multiple wealthy parents were indicted for securing their children’s admission to selective institutions through bribery. Despite the publicity the indictments and guilty pleas received, and the public schadenfreude over the sight of celebrities being arrested, the investigation is most notable for what it did not do: it did not deploy the federal government’s arsenal of anti-money laundering and anti-corruption tools against the universities involved. This represents a significant missed opportunity to address the serious problems that arise from rationing access to selective institutions via opaque, easily manipulated admissions processes designed to benefit university constituencies. Without deploying the same tools used routinely against other for- and non-profit organizations, the chances for real reform are significantly reduced. We call for universities and their boards to be held to the standards applied to other institutions with respect to corruption and money-laundering in their oversight of admissions programs.