Stanford Business School officials have admitted to giving steep price breaks to preferred applicants while on their website, for years, claimed that "all fellowships are need based." The news came after one student discovered a glitch on their website that gave public access to confidential student financial aid records.
In February, MBA student Adam Allcock found 14 terabytes of highly confidential student data from financial aid applications left out in the open on a publicly available server. While he notified the school to address the security flaw, he also downloaded the data and ran an analysis that revealed that the school's scholarships were not in fact, need-based. Allcock used his skills as a former Google management intern and the founder of his own consulting firm to review "confidential student data detailing the most recent 5,120 financial aid applications from 2,288 students, spanning a seven-year period from 2008-2009 to 2015-2016."
He published his findings in the Poets & Quants blog and, according to his 88-page report, "The [Graduate School of Business] secretly ranks students as to how valuable (or replaceable) they were seen, and awarded financial aid on that basis." Furthermore, "Not only has the GSB also been systematically discriminating by gender, international status and more while lying to their faces for the last 10 to ~25 years."
In response, the school has admitted that it "has offered additional fellowship awards to candidates whose biographies make them particularly compelling and competitive in trying to attract a diverse class." That means women with backgrounds in finance were favored, even if they could afford to pay more tuition than other candidates. It isn't surprising that Stanford would dole out more scholarship money to women and domestic male applicants, according to John A. Byrne; especially since the number of male "domestic candidates for full-time MBA experiences have been down for several years across the board."
In conclusion, Allcock states that the Graduate School of Business wasn't honest with its students and, rather than giving out solely need-based scholarships, the fellowship grants were "used to rank students according to their value to the school."
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