Counterpoint: Do donations to colleges make the admissions process unfair?

Peter Dimopoulos, Contributing Writer

While it is true that bribery is very real and rampant in the college admissions process throughout the country, it would be preposterous to abide by the assumption that every donation to a college is tainted by the cold claws of corruption.

Similarly, it is impossible to explicitly pinpoint and predict any minor offense that might permeate payments to colleges, specifically college admissions boards.  Donations to colleges and their admissions boards, therefore, should be allowed.

In the last fiscal year alone, Harvard took in over $1.4 billion in donations.  This large sum of money allowed the university to expand their courses, build dorms, improve infrastructure, and hire new professors.  Doing all of these things would create the optimal college experience for the students and faculty.

“Donations provide colleges with the much-needed funds to invest into their resources, improve security and student safety on campus, while also developing new academic opportunities for students.  I want those opportunities to be there for me when I go to college,” said sophomore Cate O’Sullivan.

Imagine how limited universities would be if they were stripped of their primary source of funding. How would schools be able to ensure that they have up to date textbooks and high quality courses?  How would schools be able to invest in research facilities, which provide students with opportunities to work alongside some of the world’s most distinguished and influential professors?  How would universities be able to attract new students to attend if there was no longer enough money to fund sufficient learning opportunities?

“I have to agree that we don’t know how many people are donating to help their children get into schools, and how many are intending to improve the school,” said freshman Spencer Lane.

It is often common for alumni to donate to their alma-mater, and this is often out of gratitude to the school.  It is simply unfair to assume that the majority of people donate to score an advantage for their children.

Furthermore, colleges need intelligent students to boost their ranking and prestige, so it would be self-destructive for the colleges to simply accept those who donate to the school because it would would harm their rankings.

Although colleges sometimes accept children of donors whose scores and grades are lower than the majority of students accepted, there are still numerous deserving students who gain acceptance because schools have reputations to uphold.

This is not to say that the admissions process does not need some sort of tightening up, as there are a variety of ways that the system could be systematically sharpened.   For instance, the process could be made so that all donations must be made directly through the school with heightened anonymity, which would ensure that the admissions committee does not know which applicants have parents who donate and those who do not.

With these changes to the system, these crucial donations will have only positive impacts on the school community and incoming students.

“Any form of donation and trying to support something that benefits students or the community is going to be a positive thing,”  said teacher’s aid Mr. Brian Travers.

In summary, donations to private universities are necessary, and should not be banned.  The numerous benefits of increased funding for students outweighs the fact that some students may have a small advantage over others.  In reality, the real difficulty is finding it within ourselves to trust this process, and the integrity of admissions officers.

The college admissions process is a tricky one and is certainly prone to corruption, which promotes a level of distrust.  However, if some minor revisions are implemented, we can come to a point where donations are seen as a necessary evil that are needed for colleges to grow and prosper.