Allegations of "pay-to-play" schemes, in which interested parties are expected (with a wink and a nudge) to contribute money for the privilege of influencing opinion, are not new to politics. And while accusations of engaging in such behavior draw heat in the political arena, they tend to be limited to that realm.
According to a report in the New York Post, however, a variation of such a scheme seems to have infiltrated Baruch College's Zicklin School of Business. A recent investigation there revealed that an administrator may have forged professor's names in order to artificially raise the GPAs of some students whose employers covered their tuition.
“It was done for money,” said someone with inside knowledge to the Post. “They get a lot more money from those students. They don’t want to lose these people, so they changed their grades.”
A statement from the college confirms 15 students were a part of what they've termed "irregularities." Those students will be permitted to "complete any work necessary if it is found they have not properly completed all of the requirements for their executive master’s degree." None of the students are likely to have their degrees stripped.
The statement further adds that "appropriate personnel actions have been taken," including placing the administrator responsible on leave.
The New York Times reports CUNY has notified law enforcement of the deal, but Christina Latouf, a spokeswoman for Baruch, declined to comment on the specifics.
While this scandal appears unique to the Zicklin School of Business, GPA-altering scandals are nothing new to higher education. In 2011, an inquiry found that officials at Villanova Law School had "knowingly reported" false GPA and LSAT scores to the American Bar Association for many years. The ABA Journal speculated at the time the data may have artificially impacted the school's academic rankings.