Admissions scandal exposes unfairness in college process


Courtesy Adam Jones/ Wikimedia Commons

It was recently uncovered that coaches of various varsity teams at the University of Southern California and other universities accepted bribes to scout and recruit children of wealthy families and help to get them admitted in to the university. This admission scandal, also known as “Operation Varsity Blues,” has caused an outcry from students and parents alike who see this manipulation of the system as unjust.

On March 12, 2019, actresses Lori Loughlin, Felicity Huffman and over 50 other parents were caught in the biggest college cheating scandal ever. It was recorded that some parents paid between $15,000 and $500,000 for their children to receive fraudulent scores on the SAT and ACT, in order to ensure admission in selective universities.

The parents engaged in two types of fraud: one to better their children’s scores and the other to use connections with college sports coaches by using fake athletic credentials, like faking athletic awards and editing pictures. According to CNN, William Singer, the orchestrator of the operation, laundered money from the parents by disguising bribe payments as charitable contributions to the Key Worldwide Foundation, a purported nonprofit that was actually “a front Singer used to launder the money that parents paid him.”

Loughlin, who famously starred in Full House, and her husband paid $500,000 in bribes to get both of their daughters into the University of Southern California.

SENIOR Alex Bick shared her thoughts. “I think it’s unfair to all the people that have to actually get into college. But they think that because they have money, they have an advantage because they think that they can pay their way into college.”

Gabrielle Folds-Parks, ‘23, said, “I don’t think it’s right because other kids actually work hard; meanwhile parents just pay their children’s way in. It’s not fair because kids that are actually trying to get that spot [are not getting it because] someone just pa[id] for it and takes it immediately.”

Adding onto this idea, Taja Barnes, ‘23, said, “I feel like they should work hard to get to college and not have someone do it for them.”
As of now, one of Loughlin’s daughters, Olivia Jade, tried to withdraw from University of Southern California. The university released a statement saying that “This prevents the students from registering for classes (until they have agreed to participate in the review of their case), withdrawing from the university, or acquiring transcripts while their cases are under review.”

Currently, the fate of the students who gained entrance to universities fraudulently vary depending on the university, but many are unknown.
“It makes me feel cheated kind of in a way. You shouldn’t be able to just pay your way into it…At least they shouldn’t accept the money or they should be like at least, ‘oh no, we’re not going to take that. Your child needs to do what other children do to reach the requirements,’” Folds-Park said.

Bick also said, “It definitely makes me feel terrible about the situation because a lot of people, including myself, I don’t have money, so I have to work my way into college.

It’s totally unfair to those of us that have to work to get into college, they don’t have to worry about money and just use their parents [who] want you to get into college.”

As of now, it appears that most kids didn’t even know their parents had paid money for them to be accepted. According to CNN, Huffman made a post saying that “My daughter knew absolutely nothing about my actions, and in my misguided and profoundly wrong way, I have betrayed her.”