For the second time in as many years, the nation is in the midst of a frenzy over who gets to sleep in the extra-long twin beds at a tiny fraction of highly selective colleges and universities. Last year, it was a lawsuit over Harvard University’s admissions process, particularly its treatment of Asian-Americans. This year, it’s a scandal involving rich parents and a criminal scheme to get their children into universities like Yale, Stanford and the University of Southern California. Fifty people have been charged in a scam that allegedly includes cheating on the SAT and ACT and bribing unscrupulous coaches.
By highlighting flaws in the college admissions process, these stories illustrate the deep inequities in access to the United States’ elite universities. And the debate is surfacing some out-of-the-box ideas about what an alternative might look like. For example: What about a lottery?