It should come as no surprise that the University of Southern California’s reputation has taken a beating in the wake of the Varsity Blues college admissions scandal. The university was ground zero in terms of the number of USC employees, students and parents implicated in the bribery and cheating scheme.
But a new poll on consumer perceptions of universities connected to the scandal found that USC’s image plunged considerably after details of the federal probe went public. According to E-Poll Market research, the USC brand suffered “a significant negative impact” and its dislike score jumped from 26 in 2016 to 40 just three weeks after revelations about the scandal. USC’s appeal score tumbled from 24 to 16 during that same period.
USC also had the highest “top-of-mind mentions” by consumers for “scandal, cheating, etc.,” including more than Yale or Stanford Universities, which were also implicated in the scandal.