Emerging college admissions scandal

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What we know about the college admissions scandal

A number of individuals have been implicated by the DOJ and FBI for taking part in a series of separate but related incidents which, taken together, constitute a major developing college admissions scandal. They include prominent Hollywood actors, business leaders and elite college coaches. We continue to assess the impact of these emerging events which challenge the trust placed by society in our revered education system.

Integrity of the admissions process and involvement of other departments

What should institutions be doing now?

Institutions should examine potential risks associated with bribery, fraud and corruption. Understanding the potential for manipulation can be backed up by a review of internal controls, governance and monitoring programs. By obtaining a comprehensive view of admissions processes and controls, institutions can confirm procedures and criteria used and apply this information to the prospective student population and scholarship. Institutions should also review their overall approach to governance, risk and compliance across other departments, including athletics. The starting point will likely be a code of conduct, policies and procedures to govern the conduct of all staff in relation to potential misconduct and conflicts of interest.

Who should be involved?

These allegations present challenges of governance that should be addressed at the Board of Director level and by leadership (e.g., Presidents and Provosts). Other stakeholders will also likely include Office of General Counsel, Faculty Senates, Academic Deans, and Department Chairs. There should also be considerable involvement with the athletic staff, HR departments and student representative bodies.

How PwC can help

PwC’s breadth of capabilities to serve our higher education clients allows us to field a team of specialists in university operations, risk management and compliance, tax and finance functions, forensics and crisis management. Over the past three years we have served over 270 colleges and universities, advising our clients on matters of governance, strategy, finance, operations and risk management.

Our teams can help you with:

  • Admissions process due diligence

  • Bribery and corruption expertise

  • Crisis response

  • Forensic accounting and managing information

  • Intelligence capabilities

  • Development of the future compliance program

  • Training

  • Tax assistance

Contact us

Margaret Stover

National Higher Education Advisory leader, PwC US

Christopher Cox

National Higher Education Assurance leader, PwC US

Chris Rohn

Partner, US Territory Global Economic Crime & Fraud Survey Leader, PwC US

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