America has heated debates about admissions standards. Legacy preferences, affirmative action, standardized tests, and even athletic performance are all the subjects of considerable debate.

Just be thankful this isn’t Russia. According to a piece at the BBC:

The head of Moscow’s prestigious Pirogov medical school has been sacked after it emerged that the school had admitted 626 fake students.

Admitting ghost students would allow the university to select its own intake, observers say. Pirogov head Nikolai Volodin has denied the allegations, blaming the issue on “technical mistakes”. The school “approved 626 fictional university candidates with overrated test results for admission” in late July, Russia’s prosecutor general said in a statement on Wednesday.

Since 2009 Russia has used a standardized examination to admit students to its medical school. The exam existed “to curb corruption.”

But Pirogov seemed to have figured out that if the school admitted enough students who were officially qualified, according to standardized scores, it could admit a certain amount of lower-scoring students. But it appears that administrators at this school wanted to admit a lot of lower-scoring students, perhaps because of cronyism or other corruption. And the school seemed to pad the numbers with nonexistent people. But these fictional people were apparently really smart, at least according to their made-up scores.

These fictional brains allowed the school to admit a lot of the low-scoring students it actually wanted to study there. This is because the total averages then didn’t look low as they really were.

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Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer