© 2024 WFAE

Mailing Address:
8801 J.M. Keynes Dr. Ste. 91
Charlotte NC 28262
Tax ID: 56-1803808
90.7 Charlotte 93.7 Southern Pines 90.3 Hickory 106.1 Laurinburg
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Navigating Inequities In The College Admissions Process


Thursday, March 18, 2021

In 2019, a federal investigation charged at least 53 people in a college admissions bribery scandal that helped a handful of wealthy students get accepted to prestigious colleges.

The scandal, known as “Operation Varsity Blues,” unearthed the realities of inequities in the college admissions process.

A 2019 study founds only 19% of Black and Latino students with high SAT scores go to elite institutions, compared to 31% of white students with similar scores. Recent data also show private college counselors charge an average of $200 an hour.

Two years after “Operation Varsity Blues,” little has improved — if anything, it appears the COVID-19 pandemic has made matters worse.

From test scores to college rankings, we sit down with higher education professionals to understand why college admissions disparities exist, how the pandemic has increased the divide, and how the majority of students — those who can’t afford to cheat — can navigate the admissions process.


Liz Willen, editor-in-chief of The Hechinger Report, a nonprofit independent news organization focused on inequality and innovation in education

Lee Bierer, independent college counselor, president of College Admissions Strategies and author of syndicated, weekly “Countdown to College” column

Stay Connected
Jesse Steinmetz is Producer of Charlotte Talks with Mike Collins. Before joining WFAE in 2019, he was an intern at WNPR in Hartford, Connecticut and hosted a show at Eastern Connecticut State University.