The college admissions scandal has been created to a substantial extent by the lack of competition among colleges and universities.
I am an antitrust attorney (for 49 years and continuing), and a graduate of Harvard Law School, and I created, owned, directed and taught in my own proprietary school for 18 years. What I am able to conclude about competition in higher education in the U.S. comes from the experience and a perspective that perhaps I alone have.
Without competition, the 50 Tier 1 colleges and universities [I will just refer to them as colleges] and 300 Tier 2 colleges are each able to obtain more applications for admission than they would enjoy if free-market competition existed. You might believe that free-market competition exists, but this is not the case, and is the basic problem for the national student loan problem, the newer college admissions scandal, the inability of college graduates to obtain employment paying enough to service the student loans and still leave enough for a reasonable living, among other problems.
As an aside concerning regulation of education, no regulatory or regulatory agency has been able to regulate the quality of the education. Instead, they regulate (as to the over-regulated schools) the number of seats in a classroom, the thickness of the doors and windows, the size of the parking lot, and other matters having nothing to do with the quality of the education - but if they did not regulate such irrelevant matters, what would they regulate? No, regulation is to prevent free-market competition, that is all that the regulators want, and get, at the expense of students and their parents, and the economy, and taxpayers, and others.
During 2018, the 8 Ivy League colleges plus Stanford and MIT (a total of 10) had total applications numbering 313,981, with an 8.33% acceptance rate (and I am not sure if this includes students being accepted by more than one of the 10 colleges).
If there were free-market competition in higher education, the number of applications would probably be reduced by 50%, and there would be less reason for participation in any college admissions scandal.
There is a high cost of attendance by most students at any of the Tier 1 and Tier 2 colleges. With travel, dormitory or housing, food, tuition, books, other living expenses, the annual cost can often run from $40,000 to $80,000.
For wealthy families, these amounts are insignificant, and competition in price (i.e., tuition and the other costs) probably would not result in any meaningful reduction in the number of applications.
But for students who are unable attend without taking out student loans, attendance at one of the Tier 1 colleges could require the student (and probably his/her parents) to obtain student loans ranging from $20,000 to $50,000 per year (or $80,000 to $200,000 for the 4-year period).
If you were a student (or parent of a student or multiple college-aid students) facing this kind of indebtedness (with no prospects of any bankruptcy relief) and the student(s) had the option of attending a local (day) unlicensed (equivalency) college paying tuition of only $2,000 per year (or perhaps paying nothing if the federal government enacted a law to pay the $2,000 as a Free College for All statute, what would you do?
It mainly depends on your financial ability to pay the huge dollar amounts required to attend any of the Tier 1 or Tier 2 colleges or many of the other colleges. If you have millions of extra dollars and not too many children, why not buy the best?
But if going to the so-called best college and living in student-loan slavery for most of your employment life is not as good an option as obtaining a high-quality equivalency college degree from a local unlicensed college for tuition of $2,000/year (paid by you or the government, it does not really make much of a difference for most students and their parents), there would be about 50% of the current college students who would opt for the unlicensed college, to save hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Let me say a few words about unlicensed colleges. Because of state laws, only recognized (i.e., state licensed) colleges and universities may grant a degree, such as a bachelor of arts, a bachelor of science, a master of fine arts, etc. As a result of this restriction, no other type of school may grant a degree. A state license is required.
Another problem is that most states require any person or entity that would provide vocational instruction (i.e., training to obtain employment [and is that not what college is now becoming?] to obtain a license, which involves lengthy delays, spending substantial amounts of money to prepare a proposed unlicensed school for inspection without allowing the school to accept any students or to take in any income, which discourages most proprietary schools from ever getting started.
If you were highly skilled in open-source programming and wanted to teach others what you know (in a course of instruction) for money or anything else of value, you would not be able to do so without first obtaining a license from the state (as to most states, perhaps all, I am not sure on this point). If there is something you know how to do to earn money, and wanted to train others, you can see how a school set up, owned and operated by you would probably provide a better course of instruction than a college.
This is so for a variety of reasons, including the use of almost unpaid teaching assistants, low-paid professors seeking other opportunities, and a professor's emphasis on publishing or perishing (instead of teaching). Small business probably can provide a better education in many (but not all) areas of instruction, but this is not allowed under current federal and state laws. Accordingly, I am urging that needed vocational instruction be given in the final year of high school and in a corresponding adult education program, which can be imposed on a community by voters in many communities through a ballot initiative.
Because of these two licensing schemes maintained by Higher Education in each state, very little competition is created for the licensed, degree-granting colleges in the states.
Furthermore, to obtain federal student loans, the U.S. Office of Education requires that the school have one of the two types of state licenses; and, further, that the school be accredited (if this is not already required under state law).
Thus, if a student goes to an unlicensed college, he/she will not get a degree (unless the needed federal law grants this right), but instead will receive some type of paper saying that the student has completed the following college-equivalency curriculum (without stating that a degree was given for that completion).
It is important to note, that the high cost of education is the result of the student loan program (including the accreditation process) coupled with the anti-competitive licensing scheme of the states. If you took away all this paperwork and let 4-year, unlicensed, equivalency colleges be free to teach, a good case can be made that there would be better instruction than received on the average from licensed colleges.
Management of a licensed school has to spend too much time with licensing issues, re-accreditation, student loan issues, inspections, and supervising the expenditure of huge amounts of money that seldom translate into any increased education for the students, and not enough time trying to make the curriculum as current and good as possible.
With this as a background, I want you to look at my 4-page explanation of the 4-year, unlicensed, equivalency college and how it would be able, easily, to operate with and charge annual tuition of only $2,000 per student (for 500 hours of high-quality college instruction - the same number of hours of instruction in the fall and spring semesters of an typical licensed college - 16 weeks x 2 semesters x 15.6 hours/week of instruction).
See my 4-page explanation of how the U.S. could provide a free college education to all by enacting a simple statute permitting unlicensed colleges, which without regulation would be able to operate profitably (30 in a class) at an annual tuition set at $2,000 per student, for 500 hours of instruction, paid by the federal government. Click on
Also, for persons who want to earn before they learn (at the college-equivalency level), look at my 3-part program for creating prosperity in a small town, city, village or county:
The easiest reform to understand is having the municipality provide free, fast broadband service for everyone in the town (or ZIP Code), as one of three reforms needed to create prosperity for all residents and small businesses in a ZIP Code. See my discussion at
Also, see my ballot-initiative petition for voters themselves, within a community, to enact a local law to require the community to provide free, fast broadband service for all residents and small business in the community. Click on
See my ballot-initiative petition which basically is a proposed local statute, for enactment by a majority of voters, which if enacted by voters would require the community to provide training to its high school seniors and adults to prepare them for $35 to $300 per hour jobs as the Assistant to the Owner of a Small Business, Professional Firm or Governmental Agency - anywhere in the U.S., and without any licensing. Click on
For a ballot initiative to require a city in NYS to provide free unlimited advertising (millions of ads for all types of goods and services) for all of its residents and small businesses, in a community website which the community would advertise in a 75-mile radius through low-cost radio advertising, go to
If you are interested in looking at my c.v. or resume, click on
Attorney Carl E. Person
225 E. 36th Street - Suite 3A
New York NY 10016-3664
Revised 3/25/19 9:36 pm css-hdrs