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Baltimore native, Towson alum Mike Rowe weighs in on college admissions scandal

The Baltimore Sun

If the college admissions cheating scandal looks bad to Americans, the extreme cost of college should look even worse, according to television host and vocational job advocate Mike Rowe.

The Baltimore native weighed in on the admissions scandal — in which affluent parents allegedly committed fraud to get their children into college — during an appearance on “Fox & Friends” Friday.

"I think it is interesting that when wealthy people cheat, we get angrier than we do when middle-class people cheat," Rowe said. "It's kind of fun to be outraged at people who are clearly privileged and don't 'need to cheat', but ethics have nothing to do with money, right? I mean you can be dishonest and have your thumb on the scale, regardless of your tax bracket.”

Rowe acknowledged the brazen facets of the cheating scandal, but said Americans should focus their anger and attention on the sky-high cost of a college degree.

“It's also outrageous that the cost of college has increased faster than the cost of health care, real estate, food, energy,” he said.

Rowe estimated his four-year liberal arts college degree, which he said cost him $11,000 from Towson State in the 1980s, would probably cost closer to $94,000 these days.

Rowe’s estimation was pretty close. In-state tuition today for a full-time Towson University student, living on-campus with a 14-meal plan costs $92,176 over the course of four years. Out-of-state students would pay about $148,720, according to the university’s online estimates.

"We ought to be as outraged at the speed with which tuition has increased as we are by the lengths people will go to get their kids into fancy schools," he said.

Rowe has been a vocal advocate of young people pursuing lucrative and important jobs in the trade sector. In Baltimore, he’s worked with the JumpStart job training program for people exiting the criminal justice system.

lireed@baltsun.com

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