The wealthy continue to define the line between them and the less fortunate because, apparently, even the most selective universities in the country can be bought—one way or the other.
Both parents and students alike are enraged after the turn of events involving 46 people on the most prominent college admissions cheating scheme in the country.
Those arrested include two SAT/ACT administrators, one exam proctor, nine coaches from elite schools, one college administrator and 33 parents.
These wealthy parents are not sparing a penny to get their children to good universities, as a report says that the elaborate scheme amounted to around $25 million.
“This is not a case where parents were acting in the best interests of their children. This is a case where parents flaunted their wealth, sparing no expense to cheat the system, so they can set their children up for success with the best education money can buy, literally,” said Joseph Bonavolonta, FBI Special Agent-in-Charge, at a press conference.
Dubbed as the FBI’s “Operation Varsity Blues,” the college admissions scheme worked in two ways.
At the center of it all was William Rick Singer, founder of Edge College & Career Network a for-profit college prepper. Mr. Singer is also known as “The Key.”
Singer’s elaborate scam, allegedly, only needed three ways to get the undeserving rich into great universities.
The first is through cheating.
Getting high scores on standardized SAT and ACT examinations are one of the sure ways of sealing a spot at admission even in the most selective universities.
In the case of Singer’s clients, he was the one ensuring the candidates get high scores. Parents would be advised to let their children take the examination on a given date so another person, who’s a lot smarter, can take the test for them. In some cases, the children’s answer sheets would be replaced with ones that have higher results.
In instances that the student cannot take the exam themselves, one merely
Academy Award nominee, Felicity Huffman had Singer’s people arrange her daughter’s exam, which gained a significant 400 points higher than her practice exam the previous year only for $15,000.
Huffman allegedly wanted to do the same for her younger daughter but decided to back away.
How did they get away with this? By bribing the proctors.
Bribes function a lot in Singer’s admissions scheme. Like in the case of the third way, students get into prestigious universities.
Students pretend to be athletes.
If students’ SAT and ACT scores won’t help them make the cut, Singer turns average students into competitive athletes.
Some practices even went great lengths to the extent of photoshopping their children’s photos into stock photos of athletes to make it seem more realistic.
Singer would bribe university coaches to let Singer’s clients in the university by making a play that they are athletes that the university can benefit from.
However, coaches didn’t have the power to admit students, but they did have the capability to recommend students. So they did with the right push, and it’s not a student’s talents or skills.
This was the case with Lori Loughlin’s two daughters.
Loughlin, famous with her role in Full House between 1988 and 1995, paid a total of $500,000 for Singer’s services to get her two daughters—Isabella, 20, and Olivia, 19—to participate in the University of Southern California’s Crew team. However, both of Loughlin’s daughters never participated in crew, competitively or otherwise.
All of these were transacted through Singer’s nonprofit, Key Worldwide Foundation—a charity that supposedly functions as an educational prepper for underprivileged children who wants to get into colleges and universities.
Parents would easily siphon their payments, without tax, for Singer’s services by giving a hefty donation for the underserved kids in the foundation.
This crooked system has been going on since 2011 and may have produced graduates from prestigious universities during that time. This may not be the only system of college admission schemes, but let this sensationalized conspiracy serve as a warning to whoever wishes to cheat their way through life.
The arrest and the case made against the cheating, lying and the rich who try to curb their future through unjust and unlawful means is a reminder the hard work pays off, and not everything can be bought.