Recent Ethics Issue in Higher Education & More

The Latest Ethics Issue in Higher Education 

We live in an interesting time, in an interesting country.  Nobody seems to care enough about controlling the access and influence of large political donors and lobbyists to pass meaningful legislation.  Everyone yawns when Dick Cheney, who made a fortune in the energy industry, brought his former colleagues and peers to the White House to determine energy policy.  And, there has been very little grumbling about the cozy relationships  between the Pentagon  and defense contractors,  or the no bid  million and billion dollar contracts  awarded  by the government  in our current  adventure  in Iraq.

But, if a university administrator moonlights as an admissions advisor to college-bound high school students or if a high school counselor takes on paying clients in his or her free time, some people view it as inappropriate or even unethical.  Unless there is a situation in which there is an actual conflict of interest, professionals  in all fields should be allowed to supplement their income after their “day job” obligations have been met.

Citing the “appearance” of a conflict of interest is nonsense.  Either an individual situation involves an actual conflict of interest or it does not.

Do not misunderstand…I am very disturbed about the financial aid professionals who, while working at a college or university, received financial rewards for touting an individual lender.  What they did was certainly improper.  But, many good, honest folks have served in advisory or consulting roles without an ethical breach.  Let us not misjudge them.

And, let us not rush to judgement about a school counselor or college admissions professional who uses his/her knowledge and skills…skills and knowledge honestly acquired through hard work…to assist a private client.  Of course, those claiming special connections or special, inside information are another story.  But, interestingly enough, those folks more often tend to be a (small number of) full time independent advisors.

An Interesting Admissions Trend 

A survey by the National Association of College Admissions Counselors revealed that the number of students who choose to apply to at least seven colleges or universities is up approximately 18%.   It is interesting to postulate that while this trend may be the result of increased nervousness on the part of students applying to the most selective colleges, the result is likely to be that the colleges in question become even more difficult to get into.

Online Colleges Continue to Grow

Again, during the past two academic semesters, there have been major increases in the number of students opting for online education and online degree programs.


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