A quarter of parents say they would pay college officials to get their children into a good school

Jamie BallardData Journalist
March 15, 2019, 1:36 PM GMT+0

Most Americans (67%) say the education system is rigged in favor of wealthy students

Dozens of people, including actresses Felicity Huffman (Desperate Housewives) and Lori Loughlin (Full House), were recently charged with conspiracy to commit fraud after investigators found that they had allegedly bribed college coaches and other officials to get their children into some of the top schools in the US. Most Americans (65%) say they aren’t surprised by this news, signaling a marked degree of cynicism toward America’s top educational institutions.

An equal number (65%) also think it’s common for wealthy parents to cheat the system to get their children ahead. A similar number (67%) believe that the US education system is rigged in favor of wealthy students. Among those who completed at least a 4-year college/university, this number rises to 75%.

More than four in ten (44%) also believe that most parents would pay to get their kids ahead if they had the means to do so. Some people say that if they were a wealthy parent, they would probably do the same things that Huffman, Loughlin, and others are accused of doing: 15% say they would be willing to pay off college officials (such as admissions staff or coaching staff) to secure their children a place at a good college. One in five (20%) say they would be willing to pay a college prep organization to take a college admittance test on behalf of their child.

All Americans, including those who are not parents, were asked to predict how they would behave. Those Americans who are parents to children under 18 years old are considerably more likely to say they would do these things. Over one-third (34%) say they would pay a college prep organization to take a test on their child’s behalf. One quarter (25%) would pay off college officials to secure their child a place, and nearly the same amount (24%) would pay high school officials for advantages to help their child get into a good school.

Nearly three-quarters (72%) say they would pay for tutoring or test prep to help their child. Among parents, 74% say they would do this.

See full results here.

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Image: Getty