Admissions scandal impact on local universities

OYSI: College admissions scandal - local impact

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - The investigation into the massive cheating scandal in college admissions is still unfolding, but local universities have had time to see what mistakes other schools made. So are they changing how they do business?

“Hasn’t impacted our admissions process," reports Tyler Peterson, Executive Director of Admissions & Financial Assistance at UAB.

Peterson says the college admissions scandal hasn’t changed how it handles scholarships or admissions, but is giving the school and its athletic department a reminder.

“That raises to the surface more conversations that we need to have as an institution,” said Peterson.

About five years ago, the university moved one of the associate athletic directors to report to the enrollment and admissions office to provide more oversight, a step the school considers good protection against some of the problems it’s now seeing at schools like USC that are caught up in this scandal.

“I don’t know that any one system can fix this,” Peterson warns. “I can say having been in this profession for a long time, and the increasing interaction we have with parents who continue to be overly involved in their students application process, it’s not surprising that parents have been involved in these cases. In this case it came down to money, and who had it, and who was willing to pay to get the scores they wanted.”

UAB says it leaves money or the ability to pay completely out of its formula, but the bigger fight here may be against a culture of unrealistic expectations.

“All of a sudden it shifts into everybody gets a trophy in 6-year-old T-ball, whether they came in first or last place, and now it’s mom and dad are filling out the applications for their student,” Peterson reports. “And mom or dad are calling and saying ‘well we made this ACT score or we submitted this’ so it’s very interesting to see the parental involvement just escalate. Its gone from helicopter parenting to stealth bomber parenting.”

The University of Alabama tells us, “The University of Alabama has not changed its processes in response to the recent admissions scandal. Coaches are not involved in admission decisions, and transcripts and test scores are only accepted from official agencies. Any test score deemed questionable is sent to the testing agency for review and verification.”

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