Friday, April 10, 2009

Finally, We Treat Rich Kids Favorably!

Remember that little moment of frisson when you got your acceptance letter from the college you wanted to attend? (Try to forget about the crushing defeated feeling you got when the college you really wanted to go to turned you down.) It was a nice little moment of accomplishment when you could proudly look at yourself in the mirror and know that a school executive decided you were worthy of drinking yourself silly in the name of education.

Well fewer kids are getting that feeling these days. Unless, of course, their parents are rich. An article in the New York Times explains how colleges are trying to accept more kids that will pay full tuition during these hard economic times. To do so, these institutions of higher education are looking at things like a home zip code and parent's background before a decision is made on who to accept into the school.

Well I say it's about time. For too long rich kids have had to make it through life with more than the rest of us. You thi
nk it's easy to own a brand new sports car when you turn 16? Most of us don't even have to fathom what it's like to stay in a beach villa in Mexico with your own chef. I shudder to think about it.

Now the tables have turned. Rich kids finally get smiled upon in life. They should have a big advantage too: the average cost of a public university is over $6500 per year now (or even more if you live in Arizona where the brilliant state officials have decided to battle a huge state deficit by taking piles of money away from the state universities even though Arizona is already ranked 49th in the U.S. in education spending. But hey, we've still got enough money to add in a bunch of new traffic cameras!)

The average cost of a private university is over $25,000 ensuring that your parents should make six figures if you want to go there. And that's who colleges are now actively looking for no matter what
part of the world they live in. Steven Syverson, dean of admissions at Lawrence University in Wisconsin summed it up best about rich kids when he said "We’re only human, they shine a little brighter.”

Thank God. I was hoping I'd live to see the day when poor kids don't get a free pass in American life anymore.

Look, I know colleges need money just like any other business, but this is ridiculous. Education is about scholastic merit, not bottom line profit (or at least that what it's supposed to be.) I'm sure that's a naive way of looking at things, but I know from my experience that many times a student who knows how much college costs works that much harder than the rich kid whose parents are footing the entire bill without blinking.

Colleges can get their full tuition and be happy with the profitable bottom line, but eventually their alumni is going to change into snotty little rich kids who feel entitled to a college degree and don't really understand the opportunity they were just given.

But that's okay not rich kids. You can always go on "Who Wants To Be a Millionaire."

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