CASE Statement on College Admissions Scandal and Sen. Wyden Proposal
We at the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) are deeply troubled by the allegations of illegal and immoral conduct of those identified in the Department of Justice investigation of the admissions process. We strongly condemn the activities of those who are alleged to have participated in these schemes. Access to higher education is both a right and a privilege, and a college degree has for generations opened the door to a meaningful and productive life for countless students of all socioeconomic backgrounds. The Department of Justice is right to prosecute these alleged crimes.
Moreover, these reprehensible schemes unfortunately contribute to increased skepticism and negativity regarding colleges and universities, despite the immense contribution made by the sector to the United States and the world. If people believe that the admissions process is fixed, that effort and merit and will-to-succeed can be thwarted by people who cheat the system, then harm is done to both the education sector and to civic trust, and most importantly to the students pursuing their dreams of a higher education. At CASE, we are committed to advancing education to transform lives and society, and that requires a belief among students and parents that the playing field is level and that personal and social progress are within reach for those willing to work hard to achieve it.
In response to the DOJ investigation, Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) has announced his intention to introduce legislation that would eliminate the charitable deduction for donations to colleges and universities made "before or during the enrollment of children of the donor's family." Such a drastic proposal is misguided and would be detrimental to institutions that rely on philanthropic support. Charitable investments that fund scholarships and fellowships help increase access for students from underserved communities or those who are without the means to pay for college. We should be supporting policies that encourage individuals to continue making such gifts. Senator Wyden's proposal would do the opposite - it would discourage giving while hurting students and others who benefit from philanthropy.
Our universities are also victimized by these allegations. The actions of a handful of individuals should not sully the thoughtful and principled work of admissions and advancement professionals who work hard every day to sustain the quality and integrity of their institutions.
CASE will continue to espouse ethical behavior in the thousands of institutions we serve, while working to ensure that tax policy continues to encourage philanthropy that supports students, faculty, facilities, and academic programs in our colleges and universities.
CASE believes in advancing education to transform lives and society. As a global nonprofit membership association of educational institutions, CASE helps develop the communities of professional practice that build institutional resilience and success in challenging times. The communities include staff engaged in alumni relations, advancement services, communications, fundraising, government relations, marketing, and student recruitment. CASE is volunteer-led and uses the intellectual capital of senior practitioners to build capacity and capability across the world.
CASE has offices in Washington, D.C., London, Singapore and Mexico City. Member institutions include more than 3,600 colleges and universities, primary and secondary independent and international schools, and nonprofit organizations in 82 countries. CASE serves more than 90,000 practitioners. For more information about CASE, please visit www.case.org.
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