Momservation: The real college admittance scandal is letting your best and brightest leaders leave this state by the thousands each year.
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That’s how I see it; this whole college bribing “scandal.”
Why the quotes around scandal?
Because scandal implies that it’s a shocking disgrace, and there was nothing shocking about it to me. There have long been scores of wealthy, privileged, white kids in elite colleges and if you thought they all got there and belonged there legitimately, then I have an unused copy of the Donald Trump Morality, Integrity and Ethics Guidebook I’d like to sell you.
These 30 some-odd students whose parents are modeling bribing, cheating, and racketeering while simultaneously issuing monetary votes of no confidence in their abilities? These are not the kids taking your child’s spot in California universities.
Let me redirect your outrage, shall we?
And even as tempting as it is, it shouldn’t be at the 7,245 out-of-state and international students who were offered your ridiculously overqualified child’s spot at UCLA in 2018. (from UCLA Profile of Admitted Freshmen Fall 2018)
It is squarely on the backs of the California universities and our state government.
The college bribing scandal revealed (ironically, or not ironically, through another form of cheating—an investigation into securities fraud) a disgusting symptom of a lager illness: The California college system is broken.
On many levels.
But since this is a scandal about the admission process into some of my state’s most prestigious institutions of higher learning, that’s what we’re going to focus on.
The real scandal is that California universities and state universities are taking California tax payer money set aside for educating our state’s students and then admitting a dwindling amount of them.
It’s that they are making tens of millions of dollars in application fees (UCLA alone had 113,000 students apply in 2018 at $70 a pop) while still raising tuitions.
But the most egregious act against our hyper-qualified California state freshmen college applicants is that our state’s elite colleges are reaping more profits by giving grossly unbalanced admissions to out-of-state and international students who pay hugely inflated tuitions.
But don’t just take my word for it.
According to the San Jose Mercury News in an article published July of 2018, “The number of California freshmen admitted to some of the system’s most elite and selective schools, including UCLA and UC Berkeley continue to drop.”
Last year, UC Davis admitted only 34% of California applicants. Berkeley only 17% and UCLA a stunning 12% of the 71,569 California students who applied.
(Reminder: In-state tuition for California residents for UCLA last year was $13,225. Out-of-state: $28,992.)
Of course, the California universities have long whined that they are forced to do this because they are under-funded by our state government to which our former governor for the last eight years, Jerry Brown, countered that UC officials must live within their means, cut costs and “more creatively engage in the process of making education more affordable.” (Los Angeles Times, “UC regents face showdown with Gov. Brown over proposed increase in tuition and fees” Jan. 2018)
So how have they gotten creative, Jerry?
By telling the majority of uber-high-achieving California students and their tax-paying parents that they have not done enough to walk through the doors of their vaunted institutions.
This is the scandal! This is what makes me fighting mad not just for my two college-age kids but all the California students over the last ten years who have over-extended themselves doing exactly (and then some) what our state universities said would earn them admission only to brand their parents liars for trying to teach “hard work pays off.”
It’s also created an epidemic of anxiety trickling down into primary grades that students must create a “platform” of excellence just to attend college in their state, but then burdening them with a parachute of hopelessness, failure, and inferiority because it was still not enough when they leaped.
“Mom? What more could I have done?” my daughter with the picture-perfect college application asked.
Nothing. Absolutely nothing. And I hate that my home state has done this psychological bitch-slap to our most talented, high achieving students.
So why are we surprised when a parent ponies up $500,000 to make sure their kid can get into an elite college?
I didn’t go to an “elite” college, but I did go to a California state school. My second year in college my tuition went up 40% in ONE YEAR. Despite now regular raises to California state college tuition—resulting in 350% increase since 1980—that 1990 school year is still the biggest one year jump in fees. It caused California universities to slash staff and therefore classes which were not restored while I was there (and tuition still going up) forcing graduation rates to stall because classes needed to graduate were not being offered. I graduated in 4 ½ years because of this assault on my higher education from our state government.
It’s only gotten worse from there.
Fast forward to 10 years ago when my neighbor complained that her high-achieving daughter was going out-of-state for college because she couldn’t get into a California school. A canary in the coal mine. I naively hoped the trend of using out-of-state/international students to settle budget problems inherited from the Pete Wilson Administration would be solved by the time my kids were applying to college.
It hasn’t been.
I have now witnessed for the last five years that my kids have been in high school—taking Honors and AP classes, maintaining high GPAs, playing sports, participating in clubs and student government, working and volunteering, achieving impressive ACT and SAT scores—our California seniors on the front lines of college applications shot down time and again, being denied access to their state’s universities despite ridiculously impressive college resumes.
(Come on San Diego State with over 90,000 freshmen applications—how do you REALLY select who gains entrance when all you are looking at is a GPA and test scores?!)
And who reaps the benefit of up to 88% of California college applicants not being admitted to their state’s schools of higher learning?
Out-of-state schools. When the Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE) was implemented in 1987, giving California students an affordable higher education solution because the California rug was being pulled out from under them, our state government should have been paying better attention.
Because now the best and brightest future leaders are leaving California in droves to go to colleges that have been smart enough to throw their doors open to students who will undoubtedly enrich their communities.
And you know what?
Evidence is mounting that once they leave, they don’t come back. They are now in Arizona, and Idaho, Nevada, Oregon and Washington getting their degrees, their experiences, making contacts, putting down roots, securing jobs, purchasing homes, and bringing tax revenue to states smart enough to entice young talent into their communities.
And guess what?
Parents follow. I have one kid now in Boise thinking he has hit the lottery there. Besides absolutely loving his new home, he’s talking about going into real estate to get in on the ground floor of the spectacular growth happening there.
I also have my high school senior who was admitted into UC Santa Barbara in a special reception for Top 10% of Applicants (but who was rejected by UCLA and wait-listed by Berkeley and UC San Diego). But she has been so put off by the process of college admission and seeing her hard working friends be shut out of California universities all together—that she is seriously considering going to University of Hawaii Manoa on nearly a full-ride of WUE scholarships and merit money.
If my kids are going to end up permanently living in Idaho and Hawaii, what does California still hold for me?
Certainly not universities or a state government that values our contributions.
Governor Gavin Newsom…California universities…California state legislature…the ball is in your court to fix this scandalous mess.
#TheRealCollegeAdmissionsScandal #FixThisMess #HighAchieversLeavingCA