Fifty charged in illegal college admission scams

Parents paid millions of dollars to doctor SAT results and fake athletic scholarships



On Mar. 12, 50 people were federally charged for taking part in a college admissions scandal by using illegal means to get their children into prestigious colleges and universities.

Among those charged several well-known actors, including Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman, both of whom were taken into FBI custody, but later released on bail.

Many different methods were used to advance the college admissions. Notably, some parents paid testing proctors to increase their children’s SAT scores. Others bribed sports coaches to let their child on the team by falsifying records and photos of them participating in the sport. The parents paid high prices for acceptance, ranging from $20,000 up to the millions.

Among those who were let in through illegal methods was well known YouTuber Olivia Jade, daughter of Lori Loughlin, who was accepted to University of Southern California as a rower, despite never having rowed in high school or college. Her parents paid $500,000 for both her and her sister to be admitted. This was particularly upsetting for fans of the YouTuber.

Junior Ellie McGregor noted, “It’s unfair that she was taking people’s spots, not only in college but also on the rowing team. It was also upsetting because she already had a successful career, and she was going to college only to party.”

As a result of the reports, Jade has lost multiple sponsorships, her biggest being her successful makeup palette with Sephora, which has since been pulled from stores and the Sephora website.

Loughlin has also been dropped from the hallmark channel, where she was in the successful show “When Calls the Heart,” which has been running since 2014.

These methods of cheating were met with outrage from students and parents alike. Sophomore Charlotte Gonikman said, “I think it’s pathetic that students would lower their integrity like that and try to fool the system. I don’t know how they can live with themselves.”

While some of the students have claimed innocence in the situation, it was met with skepticism.
“The main thing that stuck out to me was that they claimed the students didn’t know, but how could they not know? If you’re recruited as an athlete you have to know,” said junior Sabrina Comess.

While many were upset by these reports, junior Arman Bozkurt was not surprised.

“While I think that the college entrance system is merit based, it does not surprise me that even the most prestigious universities, and once considered the most credible, lack a true acknowledgement of students accomplishments,” he said.

The reports have created a larger conversation about college admissions. One subject in particular that has come up is affirmative action, the practice of favoring the college acceptances of those from previously discriminated-against groups.

Senior Olivia Luna said, “People are using this as an excuse to speak out against affirmative action. There’s no comparing the two because affirmative action ensures that people who are underrepresented and qualified are present. This differs from people like Olivia Jade because she is unqualified to be at the school and, therefore, is taking someone else’s place without contributing to the school in any way.”

More generally, these discoveries have instilled some distrust in the already stressful college application process. Though the students admitted to these prestigious schools through illegal means make up a minority of college students, the fact that it happened at all is upsetting for many.

With these new discoveries comes a push for reform within the college admissions offices and an increased level of accountability to create the fairest process for all students.