In March of this year, huge news broke about a sprawling college admissions scandal that rocked the nation’s university system and included a handful of well-known colleges. Federal prosecutors stated that 50 people took part in a scheme that involved either cheating on standardized tests or bribing college coaches and school officials to accept students as college athletes, even if that student had never played that particular sport, such as water polo.
TV actresses Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman are among the dozens of parents currently facing federal charges as they are being charged with getting their children into school due to bribery, which has shined a light on students who don’t get into certain schools even if they are qualified.
The U.S. Department of Education is opening an investigation into the eight universities involved that amounted to millions of dollars in bribes, including Stanford, Yale, and the University of Southern California where Loughlin’s daughter was attending. At this point, it’s not clear what punitive measures are involved in this type of investigation as this kind of scandal has not happened before, at least not at this scale and scope.
The Department of Education will look into the issue to see if there’s evidence that the institutions violated laws governing student financial aid programs. The universities will have to provide information related to accreditation and any marketing material related to the standards employed in the admissions process. Two of the universities are public institutions funded by taxpayer money, while the other six involved could see their supplemental federal funding cut, which would hurt research and student aid.
Following the news, Yale announced that it would rescind the admission of one student and the University of Southern California put a hold on student accounts associated with the scandal. The University of California has stated that it would investigate anyone from the university system linked with those implicated in the issue
For the athletics side of the scandal, some universities have already handed out suspensions or firings for those directly involved. USC fired senior athletic director Donna Heinel and water polo coach Jovan Vavic, both charged in the scheme. And Stanford University fired head sailing coach John Vandemoer who pled guilty to racketeering charges.
The scandal has put a spotlight on how students who are qualified in an educational sense with good grades and solid student records were not accepted into certain schools over students whose parents paid their way in.
In an interview with PBS, some students gave their feedback, displaying disgust for the scandal and the protruding problem of how money has influenced the admissions process to look at those with the means to persuade a university’s decision over a student’s natural hard work. Here are some examples of what the students are saying:
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