By Audrey Z.
On March 12, 50 people nationwide were charged by The U.S. Attorney in the the District of Massachusetts Federal Court for bribing sports coaches, SAT and ACT proctors, school officials, and other advantageous insiders to get their kids into elite colleges in what is said to be the largest college admissions scandal in U.S. History.
The scam was orchestrated by William Rick Singer, the CEO of a college admissions prep company called The Key, who admitted to helping wealthy, higher-class families get their kids into their dream universities. Singer reportedly had inside connections to college admission officers, several sports coaches, exam proctors, and other people.
Among the 33 accused parents are famous actresses Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman, as well as many other high-class lawyers, business executives, several CEOs, one professor, and many entrepreneurs. Around a quarter of these privileged parents were from Silicon Valley. These parents alleged paid Singer a total of $25 million dollars in bribes.
There were essentially two sevices Singer was offering as ways parents could pay to get their kids into elite schools. The first was that parents could pay $15,000-$75,000 to hire someone to take their child’s SAT or ACT test for them, bribe exam scorers or procators, or file a learning disability waiver to get unlimited time on the test.
Alternatively, Singer could also use his inside connections to university or high school sport coaches to fake athletic credentials and recruit undeserving high schoolers onto Division 1 sport teams. Shockingly, most parents paid Singer $200,000, but some paid up to $6.5 million dollars.
The students involved in the scandal will not be charged because some were oblivious to their parents’ actions, although others knew and went along with the scam. Olivia Jade, social media influencer and daughter of Lori Loughlin, claims she was as shocked as anyone else, but she is dropping out of USC. In addition, many of her sponsors have cut ties with her family.
Parents are facing multiple charges, and sport coaches are either being placed on leave or being fired. Olivia’s mother was released Tuesday on a $1 million dollar bail.
Believe it or not, college admission scandals are not new to the U.S. Late last year, a lawsuit against Harvard was filed for using racist stereotypes to discriminate against Asian Americans in the admissions process.
Also late last year, a Louisiana-based college preparatory called T.M. Landry that was actually hosted in a warehouse with little educational supplies had an 100% college admissions rate, and underprivileged kids were getting into elite colleges effortlessly. The New York Times soon exposed the school for making up fake achievements and inspirational background stories for each student, as well as physically and emotionally abusing the students.
Sadly, the college admissions scandal was discovered almost a year ago. In fact, it was uncovered by accident. Morrie Tobin, a Yale dad and financial executive, exposed the scandal to federal authorities in return for leniency on a security fraud case he was involved with. He claimed that a Yale soccer coach had asked him if he was interested in paying for a spot on the Yale soccer team for his daughter. After recording a meeting with Tobin and the coach, authorities say the instructor requested $450,000 in exchange for admission. Tobin had absolutely no idea that the scheme he uncovered was about be the “biggest in U.S. history.”
This unethical scheme clearly took away some hard-working, deserving students’ opportunities to get into their specific dream colleges. It rigged the system and didn’t give everyone a fair chance to get into universities. Although there has always been a back door for rich, privileged students, the scandal only reminds us that though parents might be able to bribe them into college, they cannot fake their way through life.