Written by Audie
The college admissions program has always been one of the most complex and mysterious parts of the U.S. education system. However, a window into the actions of the elite members of society in America was opened in March 2019 when the FBI made a series of arrests regarding an alleged bribery scandal.
Among an exclusive list of celebrities, CEOs, and prominent professionals allegedly involved in the case was "Desperate Housewives" star Felicity Huffman and her husband William H. Macy. Huffman was arrested and bailed for $250,000 in Los Angeles Federal Court while Macy is said to appear on tape agreeing to take part in the bribery scheme.
Authorities are claiming the full extent of the college admissions bribery scandal has yet to be uncovered but the alleged ringleader, William "Rick" Singer profited to the tune of $25 million. Dubbed "Operation Varsity Blues", the investigation by the FBI began with a tipoff from an informant during another investigation. The case revolves around a series of bribes paid by Singer's college admissions consulting company to SAT proctors and college coaches at some of the top colleges in the U.S.
The basic plan behind the scheme created by Singer was to allow students to obtain false information which would ease their passage through the admissions process into colleges such as Yale, Georgetown, USC, and UCLA. Parents were advised by Singer's company to use a variety of tactics to assist their children in the admissions process, including faking learning disabilities to obtain extra time for entrance exams.
William Singer has already pleaded guilty to the offenses he is accused of and stated some parents paid as much as $6.5 million to obtain entrance to top schools for their children. The scandal used a number of friendly witnesses to record discussions about the plans of Singer, including Huffman and Macy who were recorded discussing details of the work of William Singer before agreeing to take part in the bribery plans. "Full House" actress Lori Loughlin are both accused of bribing officials with Loughlin's husband, the fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli spending $500,000 to secure admission for their children to the University of Southern California.
The two daughters of Loughlin and Giannulli are reported to have been part of sports coaching bribery network where parents paid for their children to be named to various sports teams at a specific college. In the case of Loughlin, her two daughters were named to the USC rowing crew despite not taking part in any activities. Another parent is reported to have secured a captain role on Yale's women's soccer team despite not playing the sport. The women's soccer coach at Yale is reported to have been paid $400,000 for their role in the scandal.
Singer would also use employees of his company too as imposters sitting exams for various students to secure favorable SAT scores. In some cases, parents would ask for their child to attend a specific SAT testing facility because of family commitments where officials had been bribed to allow others to take tests or proctors would alter answers after the test was completed.
So far, no students have been charged with any crime as there has been no link made to any child knowing of the plans of their parents. In total, the scandal has seen 33 parents charged with various offenses including mail fraud and honest services mail fraud. A further 13 sports coaches and employees of William Singer have also been charged.
You may wonder how this affects the everyday parents of students looking to secure scholarships, but for many, this is the latest sign of the imbalance of the U.S. education system tilting further to the white, rich class of society. On social media, many feel the scandal highlights the elitist nature of certain schools, but no school has yet to find any evidence of monies paid to them by Singer or his associates.