What a year for George Washington University! Fresh on the heels of the school’s 2012 scandal—the university had been booted from the U.S. News & World Report college rankings for fudging self-reported data—came a pair of PR kerfuffles that pretty much cemented GW’s long-standing reputation as a place of privilege for all eternity.
First came a lengthy April Washington Post feature on the “atmosphere of conspicuous consumption” on campus. Among the details: Chanel accessories, $160 bottles of Veuve Clicquot, and the flooding of a luxury apartment complex by students. According to the Post, managers at the Avenue “were banking on parents being unlikely to pony up an average $3,900-a-month rent for their kid’s college living quarters. They were wrong.”
The real damage, though, hit in October when school officials admitted in the GW Hatchet that the university’s proclaimed “need-blind” admissions policy was anything but. The Hatchet reported that GW, whose 2013-14 tuition, room, and board approached $60,000, “puts hundreds of undergraduate applicants on its waitlist each year because they cannot pay GW’s tuition.” Students who could afford the price were bumped from waitlisted to accepted.
GW President Steven Knapp told the Post last spring that he wouldn’t deny that the school has “a lot of students that come from wealthy families, but we are increasingly trying to diversify.” Good luck.