Having spent much of my professional life as a university professor, I am pretty much unfazed by the recent college admissions scandal simply because higher education is consumed with such problems at all levels. As other educators speak out, yesterday we learned that prosecutors in Los Angeles are looking at new targets in the fraud conspiracy cases.
Of the 50 people currently being charged by the federal government, 18 will plead guilty in the hopes of leniency from the court. Still, it is business as usual if you ask other scholars within academia in the US who teach at elite institutions. They will tell you that this is just a drop in the bucket within the culture of higher education.
During my career in academia, I witnessed first-hand many coerced political hirings and how nepotism related to admissions, scholarships and hiring. From the late 1990s, many university departments began to reduce the requirements for coursework such that professors report being told not to have their students read or write.
The result of such policies is that higher education often resembles an encounter session: Show up, smile and look vaguely interested in the subject and you can be fairly certain of getting a decent final grade. The role of the student is more or less that of financial broker.