Yesterday, 50 wealthy parents and university officials, among them actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin, were charged in the nation’s largest and most expensive college admissions corruption case ever prosecuted.
If it seems weird to most Americans to spend half a million bucks bribing the University of Southern California to admit your daughters as crew recruits, it’s because they haven’t spent much time in what Charles Murray calls Super ZIPs, the uber-wealthy coastal enclaves that increasingly measure self- and social worth according to placement on the U.S. News & World Report ranking.
The legal way to go about these things, of course, is to put up a campus building with your family name on it. Illegal new money bribery aside, the justifications for propping up universities, which often act as little more than elite sorting mechanisms as well as left-wing indoctrination centers, are growing thin.
The federal government spends $75 billion a year on higher education. Taxpayers also hold the ultimate dance card for the $1.5 trillion in outstanding student loan debt, much of which will likely not be fully repaid. For public universities, state-level funds also play a large role.