Corruption in Education: a Global Legal Challenge

77 Pages Posted: 10 Oct 2012

See all articles by Vincent R. Johnson

Vincent R. Johnson

Saint Mary's University of San Antonio

Date Written: January 23, 2008


Corruption in American higher education includes not only student loan abuses, but no-show jobs that deplete university budgets, over-billing of the government, prohibited payments to athletes, no-bid contracts, improper gifts, nepotism, lavish spending, and, occasionally, even bribery.

This article gathers examples of educational corruption from around the world for the purpose making clear the multi-faceted nature of the problem and illustrating that educational corruption exists in every culture. The article then considers what “basic principles” should shape efforts to deter, expose, and penalize corruption in academic institutions. The analysis identifies “best practices” that should be followed by colleges and universities aspiring to high standards, and discusses the role that ethics codes and laws can play in fighting corruption. Finally, the article explores certain bad practices of recurring importance, including buying admission into an educational program, plagiarism, and marketing of bogus degrees.

The advice this article offers will be useful not only in the United States, but in the many initiatives now conducted around the world – for example, by the American Bar Association, the Fulbright Scholar program, and the Open Society Institute – to promote the “Rule of Law” in former Soviet states and other underdeveloped countries.

Keywords: Corruption, Education, Ethics

Suggested Citation

Johnson, Vincent R., Corruption in Education: a Global Legal Challenge (January 23, 2008). Santa Clara Law Review, Vol. 48, No. 1, 2008, Available at SSRN:

Vincent R. Johnson (Contact Author)

Saint Mary's University of San Antonio ( email )

1 Camino Santa Maria
San Antonio, TX 78023
United States
210-431-2131 (Phone)

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