Selling for an average of $600 a pair, these luxury sneakers by Golden Goose have become one of the latest on-campus trends at the recently controversial University of Southern California. And following the reveal that a group of high-profile parents allegedly used bribes to get their children spots in the school, they’ve become yet another reminder of the large wealth gap amongst USC’s student body.
USC has made considerable efforts to achieve a diverse student body across the school’s campus. According to the New York Times, a quarter of all USC students are from underrepresented minority groups, with two out of three students receiving financial assistance, but campus life is far from equal many students say.
“USC tries to paint the campus as this beautiful place to enjoy and relish in abundance… there’s this idea that once you enter USC you’re all on the same playing field. That in and of itself is a lie. I have met these rich kids who have so much that I can’t comprehend, doing things that I can’t fathom.” said Oliver Bentley to the New York Times in a report about campus life at the school.
The expensive sneakers are reportedly particularly popular amongst students in due-paying USC fraternities and sororities, organizations that can require up to $2,500 per semester to join and can act as financial barriers between wealthy students and those requiring financial assistance to attend the university.
The cost of joining a frat or sorority coupled with expensive trends like these pre-distressed Golden Goose sneakers and the rising number of entering freshmen staying at private homes and luxury style apartments near campus — rather than dorming as past generations of students have — seems to have created a divide in the student body that is affecting campus life across all economic classes, with the New York Times reporting that students of all backgrounds felt judged by their peers for having too much or too little.
Despite USC’s efforts to expand diversity, the private university remains one of the most expensive to attend in a country that has $1.5 trillion in national student debt. Just think of how many $600 pre-scuffed sneakers you could buy with that!