Why Am I Not Surprised By This?

The recent scandal regarding wealthy people and celebrities bribing people and gaming the system to get their children into prestigious colleges has made the news. Wealthy families were paying “consultants” to help their children take the exams, even going so far as to hire a “ringer” to take the exam for their child. Others were trying to portray their child as an athlete when they never played the sport. This doesn’t surprise me one bit that this scandal hit the news.

Wealthy parents have been bribing their kid's way into prestigious colleges and universities for a long time. Donald Trump’s son in law Jared Kushner's father gave a $2.5 million donation to Harvard and his son got in. No doubt George W Bush got into Yale and Harvard's graduate school of Business because of his father's influence. Probably this is how Donald Trump was able to get into the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania.

Back when I was in college during the 1960s, state universities in Ohio had an open admissions policy. They had to admit any graduate of an accredited high school in Ohio regardless of their test scores or high school grades or courses. Back then colleges taught remedial courses for students who lacked the proper high school grades or coursework. Those remedial courses were a waste of time and money. The student had to pay full tuition for those courses and they took up valuable class time, but offered no credits toward a degree. While state universities back then had to accept anyone, they didn't have to keep them. The fallout rate back then was over 50% of incoming freshmen didn't return the next year. Some flunked out, but most dropped out, unable to handle college coursework.

It was easy to get in, but much more difficult to stay in college back then. Men who enrolled in college to avoid military service usually didn't last long. Women who went to college mainly to get a Mrs. also didn't stay either. The college coursework and life weeded a lot of students out.

Today colleges, including state universities, are much more selective in who they admit. With the cost of a college education so high and so many students using loans to finance their education, money can't be wasted. If a student takes out loans to pay college tuition, then drops out without getting a degree, those loans still have to be repaid. That makes it much harder for that person to get a college degree later in life. 

If the son or daughter from a wealthy family gets into Harvard or Stanford because their family buys their way in through a donation or as a legacy, and that student might not even be able to get into Kent State University on their test scores or merits, doesn't that cheapen the value of a degree from an exclusive college or university? Should a degree from a state university such as Kent State or Ohio State be any less important than a degree from Harvard or Yale?

Rather, the old expression that it is who you know more than what you know that really determines how successful one might be in the United States. A college student is much more likely to make those important contacts at an Ivy League school than at a school in the Mid American Conference. Does a law degree from Harvard make one a better lawyer than a law degree from Cleveland State University? Or does a business degree from Yale make one better in business than a business degree from Kent State University?

Look no further than Donald Trump. He got his degree from one of the most prestigious business colleges in the world, the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. It is not easy to get in, nor is it easy to stay in that college. But does that degree make Donald Trump a better businessman? Gold plated toilets in Trump Tower might give the impression of success and class. However, four bankruptcies and a reputation for shady deals is not the measure of a successful businessman. But beneath the veneer of luxury and "class", Donald Trump is still an incorrigible child.

Lee Kamps

Lee has been working with Medicare, Medicaid and private health insurance since he began working at the Erie County Welfare Department in January 1973 where a major part of his job was determining eligibility for Medicaid. He went into the private insurance business in 1977 with Prudential Insurance Company and within a short time had become one of the company’s top sales agents. In 1982, he was promoted into management where he managed two field offices and as many as thirteen sales agents. After leaving Prudential in 1986, Lee decided to become more focused on health insurance and employee benefits. He has advised many local employers on how to have a more cost effective employee benefit program as well as conducted employee benefit meetings and enrollments for many area employers. The companies Lee has worked with ranged from small “mom and pop” businesses to local operations of large national companies. Lee received his B.S. degree from Kent State University where he has been active in the local alumni association. He has completed seven of the ten courses toward the Certified Employee Benefit Specialist designation. He has taught courses in employee benefits and insurance at Cleveland State University and local community colleges. In addition, Lee is an experienced and accomplished public speaker. He has been a member of Toastmasters International where he achieved the designation of “Able Toastmaster – Silver” in 1994. He has also served as a club president, Area Governor and District Public Relations Officer in Toastmasters as well as winning local speech contests. Lee has also been a member of the Greater Cleveland Growth Association’s Speaker’s Bureau where he was designated as one of the “official spokespeople for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame” prior to the hall’s opening in 1995. He has given talks and presentations before many audiences including civic organizations, AARP chapters and many other community groups. With the implementation of the Medicare Modernization Act (Medicare drug bill) in 2006, Lee has shifted his focus to Medicare and helping Medicare beneficiaries navigate the often confusing array of choices and plans available. As an independent representative, Lee is not bound to any one specific company or plan, but he can offer a plan that suits an individual person’s needs and budget. In addition, Lee is well versed in the requirements and availability of various programs for assistance with Medicare part D as well as Medicaid. While he cannot make one eligible, he can assist in the process and steer one to where they may be able to receive assistance.

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Volume 11, Issue 4, Posted 10:33 AM, 04.01.2019