How the Rich Really Play, “Who Wants To Be An Ivy Leaguer?”
My 2006 book, “The Price of Admission: How America’s Ruling Class Buys Its Way into Elite Colleges—and Who Gets Left Outside the Gates,” was intended as a work of investigative journalism.
 
But many of its more affluent readers embraced it as a “how to” guide. For years afterward, they inundated me with questions like, “How much do I have to donate to get my son (or daughter) into Harvard (or Yale, or Stanford)?” Some even offered me significant sums, which I declined, to serve as an admissions consultant.
 
They may have been motivated by a tale I told in the book about a youth whose admission to Harvard appears to have been cemented by a $2.5 million pledge from his wealthy developer father. The then-obscure Harvardian would later vault to prominence in public life; his name was Jared Kushner.
 
Those requests from people who misunderstood my aim in writing the book came back to mind on Tuesday when I heard about the latest and most brazen scandal involving upper-crust parents—including chief executives, real estate investors, a fashion designer and two prominent actresses—manipulating college admissions.
 
One would think that the rich and famous would care less than the rest of us about foisting their children on elite colleges. After all, their kids are likely to be financially secure no matter where, or if, they go to college. Yet they seem even more desperate—to the extent, according to a complaint, that dozens of well-heeled parents ponied up six or seven figures for bogus SAT scores and athletic profiles for their children to increase their chances at Yale, Stanford and other brand-name universities.
 
The parents allegedly paid anywhere between $200,000 and $6.5 million to William Rick Singer, who ran a college counseling business in Newport Beach, California. Singer in turn bribed standardized test administrators and college coaches in upper-class sports like crew, sailing and water polo, even staging photos of the applicants playing various sports, prosecutors said.
 
The parents “chose to corrupt and illegally manipulate the system,” Andrew Lelling, U.S. attorney for Massachusetts, said at a press conference Tuesday. “There can be no separate college admissions system for the wealthy.”
 
Perhaps these parents were pining to boast at Hollywood cocktail parties about their Ivy League imprimatur. Possibly their offspring, like those of many successful families, lacked the motivation to strive and excel academically, and without a substantial boost would have been consigned to colleges of lesser repute.
 
In any event, such allegedly criminal tactics represent the logical, if extreme, outgrowth of practices that have long been prevalent under the surface of college admissions, and that undermine the American credos of upward mobility and equal opportunity. Although top college administrators and admissions officials were apparently unaware of the deception, their institutions do bear some responsibility for developing and perpetuating the system that made it possible… Continue Reading…
 
This story was co-published with The Washington Post.
 
Courtesy: ProPublica.org
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COMMENTS

Aditya G

2 months ago

Well, this is nothing new in India. It's prevalent and open secret. Pay for a seat and it's a shoo-in.

Cisco ex-director Prithviraj Bhikha arrested in $9.3mn fraud in US
A former director of the technology giant Cisco Systems, Prithviraj R. Bhikha, has been charged in a $9.3 million fraud using shell companies, according to federal prosecutor David L. Anderson.
 
He was arrested at the San Francisco International Airport on March 1.
 
Bhikha has been charged with wire fraud, Anderson announced on Tuesday after the former director was produced in a federal court in San Francisco following his arrest.
 
He was released on a $3 million bail, the prosecutor's office said.
 
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), Bhika, who was a director in the global supply unit of Cisco until mid-2017, set up shell companies abroad to negotiate with third-party vendors on behalf of Cisco and he directed payments to those companies.
 
Cisco wired about $6.5 million to one of these companies and about $2.8 million to another and, in turn, more than $8.5 million was wired back from the two companies to US bank accounts of Bhikha and his wife, the FBI said in court documents.
 
When colleagues at Cisco became suspicious about one of the overseas companies, FBI said that he and another employee, who was not identified, created fake documents and the other worker arranged for someone to pose as the CEO of the company in meetings with Cisco.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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I’m a Journalist. Apparently, I’m Also One of America’s “Top Doctors.”
My eyes narrowed when the woman on the voice message told me to call about my “Top Doctor” award.
 
They needed to “make sure everything’s accurate” before they sent me my plaque, she said.
 
It was a titillating irony. I don’t have a medical degree, and I’m not a physician. But I am an investigative journalist who specializes in health care. So I leaned forward in my seat with some anticipation when I returned the call last year. I spoke to a cheerful saleswoman named Anne at a company on New York’s Long Island that hands out the Top Doctor Awards. For some reason, she believed I was a physician and, even better, worthy of one of their awards. Puzzled and amused, I took notes.
 
I asked how I had been selected. My peers had nominated me, she said buoyantly, and my patients had reviewed me. I must be a “leading physician,” she said.
 
At this point, of course, it’d be tempting to dismiss the call, and the award, as ridiculous. But I knew such awards are the perfect dovetail of doctors’ egos and patients’ desperate need to find a good physician. Many patients assume that the awards are backed by rigorous vetting and standards to ensure only the “best” doctors are recognized. Hospitals and physicians lend credibility to the facade by hanging the awards in their offices and promoting them on their websites.
 
And now, for reasons still unclear, Top Doctor Awards had chosen me — and I was almost perfectly the wrong person to pick. I’ve spent the last 13 years reporting on health care, a good chunk of it examining how our health care system measures the quality of doctors.
 
Medicine is complex, and there’s no simple way of saying some doctors are better than others. Truly assessing the performance of doctors, from their diagnostic or surgical outcomes to the satisfaction of their patients, is challenging work. And yet, for-profit companies churn out lists of “Super” or “Top” or “Best” physicians all the time, displaying them in magazine ads, online listings or via shiny plaques or promotional videos the companies produce for an added fee.
 
On my call with Anne from Top Doctors, the conversation took a surreal turn.
 
“It says you work for a company called ProPublica,” she said, blithely. At least she had that right.
 
I responded that I did and that I was actually a journalist, not a doctor. Is that going to be a problem? I asked. Or can you still give me the “Top Doctor” award?
 
There was a pause. Clearly, I had thrown a baffling curve into her script. She quickly regrouped. “Yes,” she decided, I could have the award.
 
Anne’s bonus, I thought, must be volume based.
 
Then we got down to business. The honor came with a customized plaque, with my choice of cherry wood with gold trim or black with chrome trim. I mulled over which vibe better fit my unique brand of medicine: the more traditional cherry or the more modern black?
 
“There’s a nominal fee for the recognition,” she said, reverting to the stilted cadence of someone reading a script. “It’s a reduced rate. Just $289. We accept Visa, Mastercard and American Express.”
 
That sounded a little spendy to get past the ProPublica bean counters, even as a unique reporting cost. I hesitated.
 
“The plaque commemorates your achievements and more importantly communicates the achievements to your patients,” she said, moving in to close the sale. “It’s a great achievement. I would hate for you to miss it. I can get it to you right now for $99.”
 
I accepted the offer, and that’s how I became a “Top Doctor.” It beats years of hard work and drowning in debt from medical school. And it gives me just that right amount of heft when I dole out advice to snuffling colleagues in the newsroom: Go home before we all get sick.
 
Obviously, the Top Doctor Awards company has questionable standards. But it made me curious about the other awards you see online or dominating entire issues of local lifestyle magazines. There’s Castle Connolly Top Doctors, Super Doctors, The Best Docs and many more. The more I looked, the more companies I found heaping praise on doctors and then charging them to market the honor. What criteria are they using? And who are these doctors who accept the awards? I wondered what they would say when I told them that I, too, was one of the chosen elites…. Continue Reading… 
 
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