Voters: Special Treatment in College Admissions Is Unacceptable

Suffolk University/USA Today poll shows Americans don’t want wealth to drive access

In the wake of a federal investigation that unveiled a college admissions scandal, 67 percent of voters said the process for accepting students is unfair and favors the wealthy and well-connected, according to a Suffolk University/USA TODAY national poll, while 19 percent said the college admissions process was fair, and 13 percent were undecided on the issue.

Federal officials have charged 50 people across six states, including celebrities, wealthy parents, and coaches, in alleged college admissions bribery and cheating schemes.

A majority of respondents found the following admissions practices unacceptable: preferences for: students whose parents make sizable donations to colleges (83 percent), guaranteed admission slots for athletic recruits (64 percent), special treatment for students with alumni parents (63 percent), and special treatment for students claiming minority status (61 percent).

"Across all demographics, Americans find college admissions unfairly favor the wealthy and the well connected," said David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk Political Research Center in Boston. "The people say money talks, and they don't like it.”

Mueller probe

The poll also showed that a majority of voters (82 percent) believe that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigative report on Russian influence and the 2016 presidential election should be released to the public.

2020 presidential preferences coming

Polling about which potential presidential candidates are exciting Democrats and independents will be released later this week along with data on whom voters would choose if the 2020 election were held today.


The nationwide survey of 1,000 voters was conducted March 13 through March 17 using live telephone interviews of households where respondents indicated they were registered to vote. The margin of error is +/-3 percentage points at a 95 percent level of confidence. Results are posted on the Suffolk University Political Research Center website. For more information, contact David Paleologos at 781-290-9310, [email protected].


Greg Gatlin
Office of Public Affairs