"The" issue for acceptance isn't, and shouldn't be solely anything. Ability to complete a degree is certainly relevant, but probably a lot less important than the relative merits of various applicants - not just "can they do the work?" but also "how well?" and "what else are they bringing to our educational community?"
Re: whether or not wealth should be taken into account as an admissions practice, it depends what you mean. There aren't currently very many universities that directly and explicitly consider ability to pay when they're making their admissions decisions (the only one I can think of off the top of my head is Brown, and I'm not sure they still do this anymore). Obviously inability to pay is a complete bar to attending a university whether you've been accepted or not. However, one's relative affluence shows up in the admissions process in other, more subtle ways. In particular, well off parents can afford private SAT tutors, SAT classes, AP prep and all sorts of other goodies that give their offspring a huge competitive advantage. They can afford to send their children to language camps, and invest in sporting equipment, musical instruments, etc, all of which give their kid an edge when applying to college. This is both problematic (in some ways) and completely reasonable (in others). On the one hand, it's obviously not fair to poor kids that they have a statistically worse chance of getting good SAT scores just because they couldn't shell out $3k to pay for a tutor, and universities are getting skewed information about the relative merits of our hypothetical affluent vs poor applicant. On the other hand, it wouldn't be any more fair for parents not to be able to use every resource at their disposal to do the best they can to ensure the future well-being of their children. That's what parents are supposed to do, and it's a good thing.
My solution, overall? Focus more attention on primary and secondary education (not necessarily more money, but certainly better spent money), institute state programs to provide free or low cost programs for enterprising low-income children to take advantage of (e.g. SAT classes, music classes, etc), and finance the hell out of the public university system to at least stop the current trend of ballooning costs (Berkeley, my alma mater, is like three times as expensive now as it was when I attended it slightly over a decade ago), and ideally to reduce the tuition burden on students.
Last edited by Hatuey; 01-19-12 at 03:04 PM.
I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality. - MLK
Out of that, they got....
1. CAD Designer/Drafter
2. Director of Christian Education/Youth Services
3. Biology Professor/Researcher
How does "equal opportunity" = "free college"? And who's to say college may not have limited some peoples education or initiative? I've got an old friend with 15 yrs of college and he's a snob, lazy and sometimes moron.
Einstein, "science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind."