An ongoing investigation into a dramatic college admissions scheme has linked parents, coaches and others to elite schools across the country. Thirty-three wealthy families were charged in March in the investigation nicknamed “Operation Varsity Blues.”
According to The Associated Press (AP) the scam, which ran over eight years, allowed well-off parents to pay enormous sums of money to buy their children’s acceptance into top universities, such as the University of Southern California (USC), Stanford, Yale and the University of Texas (UT).
Mercy Jackson, a dual credit Richland student who recently went through the college application process, said, “The college admissions scandal is very frustrating and disheartening to see.” She said she hopes to see justice in the case.
The unfolding scandal has brought to light a profound issue among a generation of students who have been taught that their parents’ money may be able to help them achieve more than their own academic abilities.
“I think a terrible result of the scandal is that, in paying exorbitant sums of money, these parents have actually robbed their children of that satisfaction [of being accepted to college in an honest way] and the confidence it builds,” said Richland College adjunct professor and SMU doctoral candidate Emmeline Miles.
“Knowing that their parents paid their way, how are these students supposed to believe in themselves?” she said.
The accused mastermind, William Singer, founded a business called the Edge College & Career Network, otherwise known as The Key. Parents reportedly donated money to The Key’s nonprofit branch, Key Worldwide Foundation, disguising their actions as deeds of charity to avoid paying federal taxes.
Singer is accused of using funds from The Key to alter students’ standardized tests, influence administrators at the College Board or encourage coaches to let students onto college sports teams with fabricated athletic credentials.
According to AP, Singer, on numerous occasions, fabricated scenarios that allowed students to take standardized tests separately. Although the students believed they were legitimately taking the tests, the proctors stand accused of taking money from Singer to correct students’ answers before submitting the tests.
Additionally, Singer is accused of facilitating an intricate scheme to get students into top universities through athletics programs. The students were presented as high-achieving athletes, which influenced coaches to accept their admission.
In one case, the family of a Yale hopeful is accused of paying Singer $1.2 million to help her get admitted through the women’s soccer program. Although the student did not play soccer, she was presented as the co-captain of an esteemed club soccer team in Southern California. Rudolph Meredith, the head coach at Yale, was allegedly paid at least $400,000 to accept the student into the program.
High-profile families have also been involved in the scandal. “Full House” Actress Lori Loughlin and her fashion designer husband, Mossimo Giannulli, are accused of paying $500,000 to admit their daughters to USC as crew team recruits.
Read more at www.richlandstudentmedia.com.