The College Admission Conspiracy Is Education’s Madoff Moment

from Forbes

The scope, scale and cunning of the college admission conspiracy that has embroiled more than 50 elites, including Hollywood stars Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman, CEOs, prominent lawyers and others, is nothing short of higher education’s Bernie Madoff moment. Madoff, a crestfallen Wall Street investment titan spent more than 30 years “besting” the market, in what was later revealed to be nothing more than an eye-watering $65 billion Ponzi scheme. Like the FBI investigation that unraveled the complex web of college admission cheaters who benefited from a coordinated network of corrupt college officials, prominent coaches, shadow test takers and proctors all working under the coordination of William Rick Singer as their ring leader, deals a painful blow to the American ideal of meritocracy.

Not unlike the long shadow cast by epic Ponzi schemes like Madoff’s, this scandal will make it hard to restore confidence in the system. The general public sentiment that the upper echelons of the U.S. economy are rigged only to privatize gains when they are on top and socialize losses when they fall requiring a public bail out is being reinforced. In both cases, the cynic’s view that meritocracy, hard work, authenticity and discipline are equally rewarded and cannot be bought or cheated rings untrue. Indeed, that the cheat conspiracy also leveraged the complex and opaque tax system to avoid paying taxes under the guise of charitable donations only adds insult to a deep, biting injury – one that tarnishes vital institutions, including paragons of U.S. higher education such as USC, Yale, Georgetown and Stanford, among others.

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26 Responses to The College Admission Conspiracy Is Education’s Madoff Moment

  1. Claudia Ralph March 25, 2019 at 4:15 pm #

    Since first learning about the college admissions scandal labeled “Varsity Blues,” I have gone back and forth about my opinion on the situation. There are two very drastic sides to this argument, one that condemns fraudulent activities and the other that supports them.
    On one hand, this case is the Madoff-type operation in college admissions. These people were incredibly deceitful in order to get their kids ahead with the means that they are able to provide their children with. Rick Singer, who was incredibly smart allowed this deceit to continue despite knowing it was incredibly illegal.
    On the other hand, these people used their money to get ahead which I don’t completely disagree with. While many of these people could’ve just donated a building or a field or something, they decided to be more savvy with what they were doing. I question why these parents just didn’t go the traditional “rich people” route in order to get their kids into school. This to me was just doing a lot more unnecessary work, where there could have been a much easier and legal solution to the problem of wanting their kids to get into a prestigious school. How different is donating a building to get their kids into school?
    It also intrigues me that no politicians were included in this particular scandal. Look at the long pedigrees of politician families that attend ivy-league schools and other tier 1 institutions. You’re not about to tell me there was no sphere of influence of Jared Kushner getting into Harvard? Was Donald Trump actually smart enough to get into Wharton? Or Malia Obama into Harvard?
    What does something like this mean for regular college students like myself? This could potentially delegitimize a lot of American institutions and cause greater investigations into why each student is admitted into a certain school. For me, I personally am not getting too worked up about this because honestly, these people are already wealthier than I. For those that were denied admission to one of these schools, its really a long shot that one person’s admission was going to make a difference for you getting in. Many of them were designated as recruits, so it wasn’t your spot anyway.

  2. Goanio C March 26, 2019 at 2:25 pm #

    The recent college admission scandals have left many well-off parents and families scared of what is to come. College is a dream for many. Often times it is a family dream; a dream for parents to send their children off to college and a dream for the kids to go to college. For whatever reasons they propose–an education for the parents or a fun, party-time college experience for the kids–it is a dream nonetheless. However, for some the dream is only in the hearts and minds of the parents. And that is where some of the problem lies. Parents, especially wealthy parents, would do almost anything to send their children off to college even if the children did not want to. And the price it will cost is obviously money and a lot of it. There are many reasons that lie behind a wealthy parent wanting to send their children to college. Whether it be status, reputation, or the actual desire for their children to get a college education, parents are willing to do anything.

    At the helm of the news the media is constantly projecting to the public are famous actresses and families who highlighted the beginning of this scandal. Since then more and more cases are coming to light a long with more universities and institutions involved. Prestigious schools like USC, Yale, Georgetown, and Stanford have grown shame to the public eye as many have lost trust in their prestigious status of admission into their respective universities. Schools like these have been traditionally sought out to be the best of the best, the top of the chart. But now their names will always be tied next to “scandaI” and this could hurt the universities involved with William Rick Singer.

    Personally I do not doubt that the college admissions systems have been damaged and bribed for years. However, in this case it shines bright since there are household names tied to the scandal and the scandal itself is different than most. You cannot tell me that rich folk have not straight up paid schools to accept their children. It would be outright insane for schools to decline, especially if rich families are paying full tuition or the family contributes to the school in massive ways already. But that way of granted admission doesn’t seem so bad. People will look the other way and say “money can buy anything.” while the non-rich children work tirelessly in their young teenage lives to be granted admission into the university of their dreams. In this case, one single man behind the entire scandal has mastered cheating admissions into schools through corrupt systems and individuals working with him.

    Many have lost faith in these schools and have risen questions as to what is really going on behind the scenes. I am confident that even at THESE schools not everyone is corrupt and bribed and some prestigious standards are still upheld with respect and integrity. But at the hindsight of the entire scandal, the students themselves who attend these schools are faced with difficult decisions, publicity, and shame. I believe it is a crime to cheat your way into a school, but to buy your way in is a different topic. What is the price you are willing to pay? People continue to wait to see what other schools have been involved with this scandal. It would not take me by surprise if these universities either dismiss these students or demand they reapply for admission in the fair and right way.

  3. Josh Shupper March 26, 2019 at 2:30 pm #

    After reading this article, this is a Ponzi Scheme 2.0 in my opinion. Bernie Madoff was a guy famous for what we know as “besting” the market, and basically try to take advantage of everyone else and the economy. He made along with others involved a grand total of $65 billion. Not many people in the world have that huge of an amount of money stored in their bank accounts. The way that he did make the money though was unethical and illegal according to the law. The article mentioning the college admission conspiracy is something that surprised me, especially given the fact of who was involved. The people include Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman, famous actresses in Hollywood, along with other people with high profile positions such as Chief Executive Officers, lawyers, etc. The fact that these people, who have a lot of money and fame to them, seems a little bit shocking but not to some sort of surprise that they would do something like this. In order to get their kids into one of the top schools in the country like Georgetown, Yale, Stanford, and the University of Southern California (USC), the parents including Loughlin and Huffman bribed people to get their kids into the top schools. The kids did not originally get accepted into some of these schools, probably because they did not do well in high school regarding grades or extracurricular activities done throughout their four years in high school. As someone who would attempt to apply to one of these schools and if I got denied because somebody else decided to go against the law, there would absolutely be no question that I would be pissed off with the result. I think that people should be rewarded for all of the good things that they do within high school to at least have an opportunity to be accepted to one of the top schools in the country and not because of the attempt of trying to get into a school the easy way. Everyone has an opportunity to attend a college. Yes, circumstances are different for each family, specifically the amount of money that they have. It does not mean that you should try to get your kid into a school where an acceptance rate is super low. By trying to use athletic recruits as an excuse, it seems stupid because they are lying.

  4. Mark Holtzman March 26, 2019 at 2:32 pm #

    How many students were involved? How many students are undergraduates in the US today? This is nothing but an insignificant blip, hyped up by sensationalist media.

    It is amazing to me that the system works so well, and that nothing like this has ever happened before. Anyone with enough money can easily purchase admission for their child into almost any school. But that is rare. And that wealthy parents provide badly needed funds that benefit other students. The system certainly isn’t perfect. But it works very well, and bad actors do get caught.

  5. Domenico Cirielli March 27, 2019 at 3:01 pm #

    Wouldn’t we all love to attend some of the most prestigious universities and institutions in the United States? Harvard? Stanford? UC Berkeley? These are a few of many universities that are renowned across the country. However, they are very selective, which is what makes them some of the most coveted universities to go to. Although, as many of us have seen in the spotlight lately, while selective, some of these institutions can be swayed in the favor of those who provide the right price. The likes of Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman are some of the individuals who have demonstrated that going to a prestigious institution does not necessarily depend on one’s level of knowledge. Instead, the amount of money they have and are willing to give up dictate their outcome.

    When reading this I was genuinely shocked. What of the kids who actually valuing going to institutions to better their education and discover their passion? What of the individuals that actually “deserve” to go to these renowned institutions in the United States? Now, I know that is a very subjective question, but still – these institutions became so prestigious not because of their name but because of the individuals who attended there, and what those individuals ultimately went on to do. That sense of meritocracy, the Forbes article notes, does not seem to exist anymore: “those whose parents and guardians do not enjoy the embarrassment of riches and the “luxury” of cheating like the 50 admission cheat conspirators” do not have as good as chances of attending these institutions. The foundation of the American Dream the article says is education and the fact of the matter is that that is becoming unattainable especially since the inflation of wages is growing at 1/8 the rate of tuition rates.

    As noted in the article, it will hard for individuals to regain confidence in the morality and ethicality of the United States’ system of education. Before the “principles of hard work, self-determination, and meritocracy” would see that people advance in society. With this scandal at hand, it is clear that there is one thing that individuals hold above all, at least it seems so: money. While this is not the case in every scenario, it is an alarming reality in the world we currently live in. While I hope for the education system to return to a basis of who truly deserves an elite education, I do not really know what the future holds. I can only hope for the best.

  6. Doran Abdi March 28, 2019 at 8:44 am #

    This entire scandal that has exposed actresses Laughlin and Huffman along with numerous others has been very shocking to me. Yet, instead of being shocked that such corruption is occurring through those with money and power, it has been startling for me to realize that the mass public was not aware that something like this was occurring. The reality of our society is that those who have an overwhelming amount of money or are regarded with having a high power within society tend to get whatever they want (to say in the simplest terms). Money runs the world and it gives those who have it a much larger advantage compared to those who do not have it. Whether it is politicians or celebrities, those who have money and are in power are constantly being given an edge compared to the rest of society. Even those who are not at that level of the 1% but are still in the upper class of America are given opportunities for their families that no other wealth class in America is given. That being said, while I realize that what Laughlin, Huffman, and the others had done was incredibly immoral and unethical especially for those other students who had been applying to those colleges through the fair “system”, I still can understand why these parents would do such a thing for their children. No matter what parents have in their life, they will always want to give it all to their children. So, from the perspective of a parent, it seems realistic why these celebrities would have done everything they possibly could to ensure that their children were going to be incredibly successful even with the advantages that were already given to them. Along with that, the truth is that the “system” will always favor in those who have more money because of how money is power and with power certain opportunities are given that those without power are constantly deprived of. A great example of how this “system” is corrupt would be how George Bush Jr. had been accepted into Harvard and Yale while his SAT score had been around 1200. The Bush family had exceptionally wealth and power and so George Bush Jr. was accepted into these prestigious schools in front of other students had worked far more than he had ever done. That is why when the public was so enraged about this recent scandal, I was very shocked. Those who are in power and doing things like this everyday and the only way the public was able to hear about this specific instance because there was a substantial amount of evidence that could be provided that in most cases cannot be.

  7. Lillie Moran March 28, 2019 at 2:34 pm #

    What is now being considered the new “Madoff Movement”, the college admissions cheating scandal is one that is now testing our education system and how we as a society are driven by those who hold power and influence. In this scandal, 50 elites (a mixture of Hollywood actors, lawyers and CEOs) have been accused of a $65 billion dollar Ponzi scheme. These elitists are accused of paying-off prestigious universities in order to waive admissions of their children. We have always had a distrust in our education system, mostly towards intermediate and high school level education, however, we haven’t always considered our public and private universities to be just as corrupt. For years, our politicians have fought over how education in inner-cities need to be improved, but now, all eyes are on the universities that are supposed to pave the way for a more prosperous economy. There has always been the idea of the “American dream” that has incentivized individuals to earn an education and used the education to their advantage, but now, the whole idea has been pushed aside. Now, the “American dream” means that whoever has enough money to pay someone, they are allowed anything. In this case, the most elite people in our society, most have which have built their fortune on the old principle of the “American dream” are now essentially telling the rest of the world that no one else matters as long as their tree is getting the benefit. So what does this mean for the majority of the population, or the population of those that had the opportunity of a higher education taken away from them because of this scandal?

    In simple terms, this means that there is no hope for any of us. Because of this scandal being put under the public eye, people are now being told that there is no reason to succeed because there is no merit in doing so. This trend will not just stay within the education system, but will slowly move outward to our basic economy, where workers will eventually stop working because they believe there is no reason to do so. Although this may take time, based on our generation that is currently dependent on technology to perform the work for us, this trend may come quicker than we intend. As a student who is currently at the level of higher education, I feel as though I have not made any progress. Transitioning from high school to college is one of the most accomplishing feelings you can have, but now, it feels as though this accomplishment is nothing shorter than a scam. Not only does this entire conspiracy threaten the lives of those who were individually affected by not being admitted to a university, it also threatens those who are currently looking towards higher education. The question at hand is this- can we really solve this problem? In my opinion, those who have committed this crime and have sufficient evidence against them, ought to face the punishment; however, there also needs to be a complete investigation into our entire higher education systems, while also looking at our lower education systems. This trend didn’t just start when individuals were accepted into college, but it started from the moment they entered into a more resourceful school system. In order to fix this issue, we need to dive deeper. We need to think differently to solve our education system.

  8. Ashley Bock March 28, 2019 at 3:25 pm #

    The article in Forbes, ” The College Admission Conspiracy Is Education’s Madoff Moment” compares the recent college admission scandal with America’s elite to Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme. In reality, the admission scandal is not something new within college acceptances however, the head of this scam was William Rick Singer and he is charged with many counts of corruption and fraud using the elitists’ money to buy their children’s way into college. This comparison to the Madoff Ponzi scheme does seem to have similarities and elicit some fear of future endeavors whether it be financially or something else. The corruption will “make it hard to restore confidence in the system” (Disparte). The idea that hard work and determination means little when one has money to pay an entrance for college admittance not just the ability to get into a college on one’s own merit. I applied to several schools and made my decision based on my future desires and the school that fit my personality the best. These wealthy business men and actresses hired this company to get their children into schools not based on their own merits but the amount of money they have in their bank account. Much like Madoff, the comparison is not in the scams itself but the reality that the hard-working students were not getting into the schools they desired because of the wealthy paying their way in. The comparison lies in the “rubber checks” that Madoff gave out by paying his older investors with the new investors’ money, the students who were getting into the schools by the scam are being equated to the new investors in Madoff’s Ponzi scheme. This leaves the determined and well-rounded student unable to attend USC or Yale however, the wealthy get in without fault. The bottom line is to be completely truthful and hard-working and not let the money in one’s bank account pay one’s way into your future.

  9. Cameron Kharazmi March 28, 2019 at 9:28 pm #

    I was hardly surprised when the initial news of the College Admissions Scandal, knowing for years that the country’s rich and elite had been finding ways to pay their ways into the top collegiate institutions around the country. What did surprise me, however, were some of the ways they engaged in doing it, peddling money to college recruiters to fabricate their children’s names on athletic teams to guarantee admission into the school. Nonetheless, I find lots of issues in the college admissions system over the country and the marginalization it does of the poor. The idea that parents can pay their way into certain schools and leverage their assets to do so is extremely damaging to the acceptance process and the middle and lower socioeconomic classes. Kids from inner-city communities and smaller-economic backgrounds are up against the unfair advantage of families who can afford to buy the students the most advanced test prep materials, send their children to the most elite private schools, and college admissions agencies who work with the students and the college recruiters. Of course, this route is perfectly legal, but offers the wealthy an incredible advantage of keeping their wealth in-house, and as a result, further widening the wage gap. Additionally, the process of legacy admissions is an extremely unfair advantage given to the wealthy that is institutionally racist and unfair. The idea that someone can get into a university over another well-qualified candidate because their family went their carries racial undertones and inequality in the admissions process. Many families had their ancestors and older relatives enter universities when racial discrimination was rampant across the nation, offering an institutional advantage to white families over minorities, who are typically of lower income communities. The largest issue with this divide is the economic aspect of it. College is seen as a necessity in today’s society, as even a Bachelor’s Degree is not considered enough to compete for a job in today’s economy. With the college admissions process being the key to a stable economic future, there must be serious reform that allows those of socio-economically challenged backgrounds to even the playing field with the super wealthy and help close an enormous wage gap.

  10. Peter Honczaryk March 29, 2019 at 10:41 am #

    It is a real shame that these institutions are going against everything they stand for and allowing for these “families with money” bribe their schools and allow for their kids to go to a prestigious institution because they have more money than the other. This is one of those obvious cases that show exactly how the education system can be portrayed as a business. Ordinary people are willing to pay 20, 40, 60 or more thousand dollars each year to attend college to get a degree after 4 years that they can only hope that they can use to pay off those loans but with the competitiveness and technological advancement in the world, job positions are becoming more and more scarce. I hate to think that undeserving privileged kids are able to attend prestigious universities who will never have to worry about if they have to pay off any sort of loans because their parents are willing to pay the full amount an more. Take a look at one of the most recent situations that has been the news. The famous Lori Loughlin from full house and the hallmark movies channel has recently been accused of this. She was accused of supposedly paying 500,000 dollars to get her two daughters into USC crew team even though neither were apart of it. After being accused of this, she is now worries about her daughters futures. This kind of leaves the question, Did her daughter really not know what her parents were doing? When it comes to topics like college, kids and parents always come together to decide where the best place to go is for their kids and for her daughters not to know what their parents were doing seems a bit unlikely. Both were still enrolled in USC even after the case was made against their parents who allegedly “agreed to pay bribes totaling $500,000 in exchange for having their two daughters designated as recruits to the USC crew team — despite the fact that they did not participate in crew — thereby facilitating their admission to USC,” according to court documents obtained by ABC News. This is a very serious problem because Lori was not the first to be accused of this and other famous celebrities were accused of doing this and it can be hard to pinpoint whether or not the kids are the victims of this or the parents were the true conspirators.

  11. Luke Tyler March 29, 2019 at 3:26 pm #

    Upon hearing about the college cheating scandal I was at work with my fellow college students and were near hysterical about hearing about Lori Laughlin, the innocent aunt from Full House, being accused of paying recruiters money and facing possible jail time. While part of me found it warming that a celebrity was finally facing judgement for misdeeds, I was also a little angry about how the system could be exploited. Not long ago I was applying for schools and did feel overwhelmed by the uncertainty of being accepted into one of my top schools. For the longest time my dream school was USC which surprisingly was the school that Lori Laughlin bribed to ensure her daughter would get in. Even less surprising was the lack of effort that her daughter put into going to classes. Most people saw that a celebrity scandal like this was brewing. After all the admissions landscape has recently been plagued by controversy in the past couple of years. With affirmative action being under fire at Harvard, the cheating scandal seems to be adding more fuel to the fire. As the story begins to unravel, I am worried that schools will begin to lose credibility as jobs begin to be more selective on schools.
    However, it may be possible that the response to these scandals might level the playing field. In the business field, big firms typically choose from target schools which makes it harder to other applicants to get a job. This can be due to the diminishing credibility of schools that involve themselves in a misrepresentation of their academic standards. While I feel that they celebrities need to face punishment, I feel just as equally about the schools and agents that are involved in paying money to get students in. Over the course of the next years I think students will see a change to the overall nature of post-secondary education. Hopefully for Seton Hall it will be more of a benefit than a burden. After all I would hate to see my friends take out loans and then face a job market where education isn’t as valued as it once was. Even more of an impact will be the ruling on affirmative action as it decides the fate of the coming generation. In my opinion, the practice may be unfair to Asian Americans, but in the end aren’t those same practices carried onto the world of jobs. However, the more important thing to distinguish an individual should be their skill set and experience rather than completely relying on a superficial ranking of schools.

  12. Hassan Elzeeny March 29, 2019 at 5:21 pm #

    The recent college scandal is something that is a very sad thing for me to here about, but it is not shock that this is occuring. It is a dream for kids to get accepted into the college of their dreams to further their education. It is even a dream for family members to see their kids get accepted into college and then graduate four years later. Unfortunately, not every family can afford to pay for their kids’ education. Some parents have to work countless amounts of hours just to be able to afford the beginning fees for their kids to be able to attend college. Some families have to get a loan and put themselves in major debt. This is where the problem lies in the college system. From the very beginning of the college process wealthy families have a major financial advantage over others. To me this is very unfair especially to those who aren’t fortunate enough to be in that same financial position, but want to pursue college. It should always be an equal opportunity to get into college. Wealthy parents should not be able to make a donation or in some cases use their fame to get into a school. This takes away a spot from someone who put in the time and effort into getting accepted. Not only does it take a spot away from someone else, but it also possibly gives someone the opportunity to go to college who did not want to really go. This is the case with many wealthy or famous families. Many of them only want to go to college just to say they got a college education, but do not need the higher education. An example of this is Dr.Dre. He claims his kid got in without a scandal, but in reality he made a major donation to get his kid into USC. This is just one of many examples of wealthy families paying for their kids to get accepted into college famous or not. I see this happening at major schools and think to myself “wow I got lucky”. I’m lucky that my spot didn’t get taken from and that I am able to get into the school that I dreamt of going to. But, when I see some of my close friends not get accepted into a school of their dreams I have to wonder whether or not this scandal affected them or if someone got the spot they earned. Although I feel terrible for those who got affected by this I am happy that this is finally getting exposed to the public. My hope is that this scandal being exposed allows all classes of wealth to have an equal opportunity at being accepted into a university they want. It is time that being accepted into college gets based on the things that it should be not wealth. Kids should be accepted based of grades, skills, test scores etc. The things that everyone can earn not things that can be bought.

  13. Richard Gudino March 29, 2019 at 5:47 pm #

    I always knew that the rich or the elite payed their way to get most things in life not all but most of them did. It came to no surprise to me when I had heard about Loughlin controversy I was not surprised at all. I was more surprised to see how many people were really outraged at the fact that someone paid people off to get their kid to be at a good school. It didn’t help the situation that the daughter had no interest to actually go to college to pursue knowledge that I was outraged at. Understand that I come from Mexcio, possibly one of the most corrupt countries in the world with someone always being in someone else’s payroll. This wasn’t knew to me, in fact I remember getting into an accident and having to pay off a cop to keep quiet and pretend that he didn’t see me, just so I could avoid some jail time. I am not innocent either, that being said I also know what it’s like to wok so hard for something and not being able to get it. We have all been there and we used to think it was because someone better than us but now we will have the doubt that it was all because we didn’t have the same bank account. I hate that now people are going to look for legal remedies when they get rejected instead of moving on to another school. I was shocked to find out that the legal fees summed up to 500 billion which means too many people are looking to try and get into their dream school. The way I see it is that yes its wrong that these people exploited their connections to get their kids in but they are still the connection they made in the first place. I think the other problem is that we are a spoon fed generation and we think that when we actually do put in work they get even more upset when they get said. Sure we can talk about how we lost the faith in meritocracy but I think its more of we have really been thinking that no bad can come to us that anyone who works hard for it. People need to be more resilient and prepare to be more disappointed. Life will never be fair and people don’t think about that. They have lived in a safe space and need to snap back into the reality in the cruelty of this world.

  14. Melissa Caniz March 29, 2019 at 8:18 pm #

    The hot topic on the news right now involves Hollywood celebrities such as Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman who brought their children’s admission to elite schools such as Yale, Georgetown and many more in, summing a total of more than 50 elite schools involved in this scandal. This once again shows how vulnerable and corrupt a system can be when a significant amount of money is involved only to be a big Ponzi scheme. William Rick Singer as the author of the epic college scandal spent more than 30 years “besting” the market, William has run this scheme for decades and is not until now that it has been revealed that it was all a 65 billion Ponzi scheme. They say money buys everything and in this situation, they were damm right, many celebrities had more than enough money to pay thousands if not millions to Singer to get their children to the best colleges possible and once that occurred everything else was easy. Many children celebrities who attended college and graduated through this scheme are not being evaluated as more name are revel throughout investigations; the big question here is whether or not their degrees are valid. In my opinion, the way they got accepted into college might not have been the most honorable way because they basically just paid to get in the most elite schools but they still had to work very hard to get their degrees especially with very hardcore education universities with rigorous standards, unless there is another conspiracy theory with professors giving out A’s in turn for cash. Now, I wouldn’t doubt that nor would it surprise me one bit, what can we expect nowadays, it is going to be hard restoring confidence and trustworthiness in the system, because once trust is lost it is tough to get it back, or if faith is gain back then things will always change to accommodate the situation. Even though I’m not in Harvard or any 5-star education facility, I am proud of being a pirate at Seton Hall University, I earn my spot through hard work and like they say whether we like it or not the truth will always come out one way or another.

  15. Niurka P March 29, 2019 at 8:22 pm #

    Reading this article has honestly just emphasized this horrible situation even more and put it in a whole new perspective. Back in 1999 when Bernie Madoff first started scamming investors with fake checks and promises, causing them to lose billions of dollars, I thought the situation itself was extremely unethical. It was a disgusting matter that ended up in Madoff getting 150 years in prison, which is ultimately a life sentence. His horrible ponzi scheme got the best of him, and he got what he deserved. In this case, the same should absolutely go for Lori Loughlin and everyone else who is involved in this situation.

    Lori Loughlin is known to us Millennials and Generation Z as the well known Aunt Becky from the tv show Full House. Known as a famous actress in Hollywood, she wanted to obviously keep the same expectations for her two daughters. Her daughter Olivia Jade Giannulli is a YouTuber and social media influencer who launched her own makeup collection through Sephora. To everyone’s surprise, Olivia was admitted into USC on a rowing scholarship – or so we all thought she was. Most were surprised because in some of her YouTube videos, she states how she did not care about going to school. She just wanted to just get the college experience of partying all night and going to football games. Based on this, it was only a matter of time before someone had caught onto the whole scandal. Celebrities want all of their children to be accepted to these higher standards so they do not make their parents look bad. Lori Loughlin did what she felt was right in her mind and paid off her daughter’s acceptance and even got her a scholarship on top of that.

    The whole situation is another ponzi scheme, just with college admissions. This issue upsets me because there are probably high school seniors who were so determined to get into USC and making sure their applications were flawless, only to be overlooked by a girl whose mother is rich enough to pay for her to be accepted. I was denied from two of my top schools, so I can relate to the feeling of disappointment when receiving that denied letter in the mail. Lori, the CEOs, and those involved at USC should all receive a very lengthy prison sentence for the crimes committed. They should also have to apologize to those young adults who were upset that they got denied because of her.

  16. Daniel McNulty March 29, 2019 at 8:59 pm #

    In today’s current society, it has become apparent that many institutions are not holding themselves to their own standards, by accepting certain students due to the fact that that certain family has much more money, which in turn is used to bribe the schools. In many instances, institutions are treated as a business, and not as much of a university, where the main goal is to make money rather than accept the top tier of students. This case, makes it extremely easy to see that the education system as a whole can be seen as one large business, working off of each other. Every year, families are willing to pay hand over fist, handing over upwards of 60 thousand dollars per year for their child to attend a reputable university and attain a degree after 4 years that they can utilize to go out into the world and find a job that pays well which will then assist in paying off student loans. As our society begins to grow more and more technologically advanced, job positions are becoming much more competitive on a global level. With this being the case, may under privileged students are having a very hard time top ranking universities, because they are competing against students whose families are able to pay in full. I Take a look at one of the most recent situations that has been the news. The famous Lori Loughlin from full house and the hallmark movies channel has recently been accused of this. When it comes to topics like college, kids and parents always come together to decide where the best place to go is for their kids and for the entire family both academically and financially. Most recently, Lori Loughlin has been accused of paying $500,000 in bribe money to get both of her daughters onto the Crew Team and the University of Southern California. I want to know, did her daughters not know what their parents were doing seems? Seems very unlikely to me. This is a problem that is occurring all over the country and needs to be fixed,

  17. Marquis C March 29, 2019 at 10:51 pm #

    The college scandal also known as Operation Varsity Blues, proves one common theory. That is that money will make people’s morals disappear. This is now being compared to Bernie Madoff’s famous ponzi scheme, and I concur with the comparison. These high class families, and celebrities such as Lori Loughlin and Felecity Huffman were found paying a third party to get their children into prestigious universities. I believe all parties involved should be sentenced to similar punishments such as Madoff was.
    Money can get you far in the world. Some people will do anything for money, and some people will do anything if they have money. I understand parents are willing to do anything for their kid, but this isn’t how you go about it. One part that is horrible, is in part of the payment, the middle man would photo-shop the children doing various different sports so they could get recruited as athletes. There are so many hard working athletes out there, and somebody’s spot got taken, just because their famous parents paid.
    The parents aren’t the only ones at fault, these so called prestigious academic universities should be looked down upon. If there is one thing that people should try to have faith in, it is the education system. It’s a travesty knowing the education system is playing favorites and losing its morals. There are kids who grind and work hard so they can go these prestigious universities and they don’t have the best financial stability, but their seat gets taken for someone who doesn’t deserve it. I think every school needs to take a look at their admissions, it is completely unfair that these children are being cheated.
    In summary, this whole scandal is a huge ponzi scheme, but instead of Wall Street its college admissions. My stance on this issue will not change, there are kids futures who are getting damaged because of this. It also adds to insult when the Loughlin’s daughter says she’s going to school just for “partying and the game day experience.” Everyone involved needs to pay the price and serve punishment, and an apology needs to be sent to all students including to the ones rejected. I’m hoping this is the last scandal we hear about involving admissions, but I don’t think it will be.

  18. Nicholas Meyerback April 1, 2019 at 8:22 pm #

    March 2019 represented an eventful month for American colleges, and I’m not referring to The NCAA Tournament. On March 12th, federal prosecutors accused more than 50 individuals involved in a bribery scandal. The scandal encompassed cheating on standardized tests or the bribing of coaches to admit students as athletes into universities. A mockery was made of the college admissions process as it was revealed that unworthy offspring of celebrities and wealthy families were welcomed into universities that far surpassed their intellect.

    Every American, excluding the perpetrators, should be nauseated by the scandal as the integrity of higher education has been compromised. Higher education is sacred because it serves as the instrument by which the greatest minds gain the expertise and enlightenment to make an impact. Young biology fanatics are molded into doctors or researchers that will one day benefit society by applying a cure or devising a cure. Engineers are formed to design the bridges and buildings that the public uses every day. In the legal realm, attorneys are sculpted to defend justice or assist the layman in matters that involve the law. Every major or school of study births a professional ready to translate their knowledge into a service that assists society in one way or another. Admitting unqualified individuals poses a threat to diminish the benefits reaped by society. The half-witted sons and daughters of celebrities or billionaires are unlikely to give back anything useful. They’ll either enjoy their inheritance or end up employed by their parents. This may sound harsh, but if your parents had to bribe someone to get into college you probably weren’t smart enough in the first place.

    The real injustice rests in the fact that qualified high school graduates were denied opportunity. A scandal like this undermines the meritocracy that education is supposed to be rooted in. Students are presumed to be selected for their well-rounded contributions during high school including service, involvement in clubs/organizations and academic achievement. Students are encouraged to get involved in their communities and dedicate themselves to their studies with the hopes of admittance into the college of their choice. In an ideal situation wealth is not a factor. This scandal proves that this is not reality. All it takes is one bribe or one false test score and the hard work of one student is meaningless in the face of another.

    Sadly, this was never reality. The college admissions process was never a pure meritocracy. There is endless data to support the fact that students from lower income families have lower standardized test scores and grade point averages. It is almost impossible to put students on a level playing field for a number of reasons. When dealing with high school GPA, the discrepancy in difficulty of classes and schools as a whole creates an issue. What if the advanced biology course in Massachusetts is more vigorous than an identical class in Mississippi? Then there’s the issue of standardized testing. The SAT and ACT put impoverished teenagers at a monumental disadvantage. The failure of inner-city public schools may result in the fact that the students were not sufficiently educated on the subject matter of the exams including math, vocabulary and grammar. Inner-city children also lacked access to the tutoring that their wealthier peers enjoyed. The availability of tutoring for those that can afford the service can improve standardized test scores by leaps and bounds. Disparity in SAT scores and GPA leads to a decrease in scholarship money, a decrease in the probability of admittance and therefore less opportunity.

  19. DawnJ April 2, 2019 at 11:46 pm #

    This scandal was truly disappointing to hear about. Though not surprising because money certainly talks and when someone has an abundance of it and is willing to pay, anything is possible – there will always be someone willing to give another a pass in exchange for a pretty penny.

    So many students were cheated out of an education that they worked so hard towards and were qualified for. Think of the brilliant, talented minds that could change the world in meaningful ways who did not get in to those elite universities. While they still may change the world and graduate from another university, they deserved to attend those top schools. The next thought this scandal brings to mind is that since “payments” allowed certain undeserving individuals into these top schools, what then constitutes a top school? We now know that there are average and below average students who got in because they paid to get in. It seems that the prestige can no longer exist since we do not know what these schools are truly churning out.

    I believe everyone who took part in this scandal should be punished to the fullest extent of the law for what they have done. Because of their wealth and celebrity status, will they find yet another loophole and cheat the system again? We need to pay attention to the media coverage on it. It is unfair that hard working and deserving students have been passed up because of bad actors. I surely hope that justice is served swiftly and that no special treatment is given because of connections, social status, wealth, or celebrity status.

  20. Brian F April 5, 2019 at 5:44 pm #

    If I am being one hundred percent honest, when this college admission scandal first broke into the news it did not really have a huge impact on me. To me, the whole situation just seemed like rich people doing rich people things. After all, having a ludicrously wealthy parent has pretty much always been essentially a free pass for someone to get into college. As long as they were able to make a sizeable enough charitable donation to the school, children of well off parents have always had a sizeable advantage compared to the children of average people who were better students. This story is a much more extreme version of that to be sure, but at the end of the day this is just another way that the highest socioeconomic class of Americans are buying the admission of their children into college, even at some very prestigious. The circumstance obviously matter in the eyes of the law, and this example is definitely more egregious, but in both this case and the in normal method of donations a spot at a college is being taken from someone who is more deserving, more qualified, and also likely needs it more. That fact is what bothered me the most when I was reading this story. Obviously people should obey the law, but I think it is pretty stupid that this story has been met with outrage despite the fact that everyone has known for many years that the rich and powerful have been able to basically cheat their children’s way into school. The fact that this was not the normal or socially acceptable way to go about it does not mean much to me. In either scenario, there is a teenager out there who did better in high school, and probably worked harder to do so, did better on the SAT exam, and is more deserving of a spot at one of those schools than the kid of some celebrity, but they will not be given the opportunity because their parents did not have tens of thousands of dollars in cash on hand to give away. Another unsettling detail about this case is the fact that several of the spots bought by the parents were for kids who were not even interested in going to college. I may be paying too much attention to Lori Loughlin and her specific case, but her daughter was not the only one who was not interested in an education. In that specific case, Loughlin and her husband Mossimo Giannulli have enough money for their children to be able to live very comfortable lives without ever working a day in their lives. On top of that, Loughlin’s daughter already has her own career, and it does not require a college degree. Now, this is entirely conjecture, but I suspect that there are a number of very similar cases where a parent unnecessarily forces an uninterested child into college, but they get them in the old fashioned way with donations to the school. So the children of the wealthy and elite not only take the spots of more deserving kids, but there are also getting significantly less out of the experience. All of the average Joe Schmoes from the rest of the country are much more reliant on having an actual college education and the degree that comes with it in order to have a career and support themselves. A degree is more necessary than ever in order to get a job, but every year some of them go to people who do not want them or need them to succeed instead of someone who actually deserves it and might need it to survive.

  21. Santiago Gomez April 5, 2019 at 8:11 pm #

    When I first heard about the college scandal, it really surprised me how the rich can almost get away with everything. Almost! It is certain that the rich can get out of situations that may be risky towards them, but they find a way to avoid that risk. Having an enormous amount of wealth gives them a pass to pretty much everything. Buy the nice home, cars, clothing and in this case admission to an elite college. Buying your son/daughter a spot into an elite college makes me wonder, is a college education important for the future? That buying a seat into an elite school can secure your child into a much better future, than someone in a local state school. After all, it does not matter to which school you attend and how it affects your future outcomes? Maybe, maybe not. But apparently to these parents, it may seem so. Attending prestigious institutions in their idea is 100% certain that my kid will be better off than that kid who attended a local state school. Just because they attended a much more recognized school. This cased created an outrage for the average joes and those really working their asses off to try and receive an admission letter. Those who really deserve to be in elite institutions just sit and watch how just money had ruined their acceptance there. I believe the rich can get away with anything, but not everything in the world. As the famous saying states, money does not buy happiness. But it sure does buy anyone an entrance to an elite institution.

  22. Viviana B April 9, 2019 at 11:26 am #

    Throughout my four years of high school, creating the perfect admission application was my top priority. I joined sports team and clubs, participated in volunteer events, and received straight As. I attended a yearlong SAT tutoring program that would help me score higher on my exams. I had my college admission essay reviewed by more than one English teacher. My goal was to not only get accepted into the university of my dreams, but also to be given a generous scholarship. However, despite all my hard work and dedication, I did not get accepted to every institution I applied to.

    Through this college scandal, I have learned that hard work is overridden by money. Parents around the country are currently taking on second jobs or more loans to help their children create the “perfect admission profile”. They are investing in their sports, SAT prep classes, and extracurricular activities among other things. Parents have to sacrifice vacations or other spending desires to cover all the college application costs. On the contrary, wealthy parents are able to skip the entire college application process because of their economical advantage. I took the SAT 3 times, some of my friends retook it even more. We had to ask our parents to wake up on Saturday mornings to drive to us to the exam, in addition to having to pay the extra fee every time we took it. We were nervous, anxious, and stressed to take these exams. The children of the parents who paid for their college acceptance, will never know what those emotions feel like. They did not have to study; they did not have to attend tutoring; they did not have to do anything but pay to receive an acceptance letter.

    Although this college scandal has reached national attention, it is not new. Wealthy parents have been paying for their children’s admission to universities for years. Parents would guarantee universities very generous donations in exchange for their child’s acceptance to college. The only difference with this college scandal is that these parents used their financial advantage to create fake admission profiles instead of just offering a donation to the university of their choosing. Despite the final decision of this scandal, students of wealthier and/or famous families will always have an advantage over middle/low class students. Any university will find it very benefitting to accept a generous donation or have a person of a well-known “name” attend their university in exchange of unethically accepting a student. The most upsetting part about this college scandal is finding out that universities claim to be something they are not. Stanford and Yale University are two elite institutions that are or were known for accepting only the “best” students. However, it can now be said that if you have enough money, you are considered as a “best” student.

    I believe that the students who cheated their way into these institutions should not be expelled. For the students who did not know that their parents paid for them to get accepted, they already are suffering enough embarrassment. They must not only be ashamed of themselves for their parents’ decisions, but also ashamed of the fact that their parents did not think they were capable of getting accepted to a university on a basis of their own efforts. If the cheating students are expelled it would also raise concerns over students who also cheated their way into universities but have already graduated. Will their diploma still be valid? In summary, it is a student’s decision whether or not to succeed in college. For those who were caught and are currently attending college, it will be their decision whether they want to work hard now and graduate or party and eventually drop out.

  23. Kyle R. April 12, 2019 at 10:25 pm #

    This article discusses the new scandal recently discovered of people paying to get their children into certain colleges. I find this to be wrong in so many ways. College degrees and admissions are something to be earned not bought. People work hard to get in to their schools and work hard to get a degree within that school. For someone to pay and not put in the restless hours and time as other is appalling to me. Not only do the parents of the respective children look bad and are in legal trouble by the children themselves must feel a certain way as well. People will look at them through their whole lives different in both everyday life and career wise. Their degree is tainted or even fake and put a negative look on their life now. Along with the people involved the universities are to blame as well. Some knew of the situation and only saw dollar sighs so they did not care. This makes people question the integrity of the university and how they operate. In the article, it says “While the financial calculus could be damming in this college admissions case and the full cost is still unraveling as more names are likely to come out and more rings likely to be disclosed, the reputational tarnish on higher education and the cottage industries surrounding it will take long to restore. Indeed, more damning still is the risk that this scandal prompts a look-back at prior graduates, or among those graduates themselves, as they question the value of their hard-earned degrees”. This is a major scandal in America and will be handle over many months or years for the case to be handled. As compared to the “Education’s Madoff Moment” in the article it is something that may change the industry forever. Further background checks or more maybe preformed upon acceptance to college. This will definitely have a huge impact on our upper education for the future and for the people with in it going forward.

  24. Abdulrafay Amir April 15, 2019 at 6:28 pm #

    The college admission process is a long and grueling task that stresses out every student and the parents of the student who is applying to his choice of colleges. Some students spend their entire high-school career working towards being able to have a presentable “resume” that colleges will appeal to while others might coast through and do whatever they want when it comes to college admissions. However, to find out that it was the lazy kid who came from a wealthy family that bought his way into admissions got accepted over the student who worked hard for 4 years got rejected. That is a scenario that will leave a bad taste in everyone’s mouth because this is something that should never even occur. However, we clearly exist in a society that allows money to overcome almost anything and, in this case, many wealthy families are able to make a few donations and payments to a school and a spot for their child opens right up regardless of academic standing or interest to actually want or need an education. This means they start even more ahead of the curve than the average student does in every scenario. From my experience, I have seen the same thing happen in my life during high school. I was able to witness students who cared little to none about their education and when it came time to apply and get into schools, they somehow found their way in being accepted to schools that I did not even believe was possible for them. To think I spent 4 years slaving away at good GPA’s and did all this extracurricular work to find that it didn’t really amount to anything. I would clearly be frustrated but the hard truth is that nothing was done for me and nothing will be done for anyone who has to witness others getting ahead due to their wealth. I guess we just

  25. David Torres April 19, 2019 at 6:54 pm #

    There is nothing new hearing about the kids of wealthy families getting accepted into an excellent school just because of a few donations from their parents. Fame and fortune can allow you to get almost anything you want in life your way. And when I mean almost anything, it’s essentially everything. An example of this is Malia Obama going to Harvard University. If her father was not the president of the United States, she would have had a hard time getting into Harvard University, just like everyone else does because of how academically demanding of a school it is. There is so much injustice taking place behind the curtains that many people fail to realize. Many people deem this as unfair because of all the other students that have worked for their grades to be accepted into good schools. The system is continuing to be cheated, and lack authenticity. Many students such as myself have worked hard to get into the schools that we have applied for. I’ve worked extra hard during the SAT period of High school in which I’ve acquired a tutor to get ahead and assist me in order to get the best grade possible on the SAT, making the acceptance process easier. However, the children of wealthy families that know that they can get into their dream school no matter what their grades look like have it easy. They have the comfort of their parents giving an extraordinarily large donation to the school of choice, giving them easy access to being accepted. It is known that many successful CEO’s send their children to Ivy League schools, and commit this act of unauthenticity of donating a huge amount to the school, allowing their child to attend the school. Perhaps it could be true that the son or daughter has legitimately been accepted into the school, it’s just that we continue to hear about it often is what gives us suspicion. In my years throughout high school, there have been no cases of something like this occurring. However, in many other high schools, specifically ones located in very wealthy areas, I would assume that the chances of something like this occurring would be much higher.

  26. Brandon Medici May 21, 2019 at 5:29 pm #

    The college admission scandals, just like the Madoff scheme, became a big deal because it showed that some celebrities think that they are above the law and that they didn’t think that they were going get caught. Some of these celebrities included Felicity Huffman, who paid someone to change her daughter’s SAT score, so she can get into a good college, and Lori Loughlin, who paid $500,000 dollars to an admission scammer, William Singer, to get her daughters onto the crew team so they can attend University of Southern California. It is a shame that these celebrities think that they can cheat on college admissions to get their children into the top schools because they are taking away spots from students who don’t come from rich and famous families and students who worked really hard to get the scores to meet the schools’ requirements, and these celebrities bought their children’s admissions whether they earned the admissions or not. I agree with the author that people or families that used their money to help the school with giving them money for a building or to improve the school’s condition, should be given special access or have their child be higher on the list for admission, but what these celebrities did was the exact opposite of that example, they didn’t use their money to help the school, instead they used their money to cheat on standardized tests, or bribed a school team or club so their children would be accepted.
    I agree with Cameron Kharazami, I was also not that surprised when the first news coverage on the scandal, because throughout the United State’s history, the rich and powerful families have found ways to buy their way into colleges so their children could be admitted and not go through the process that every student has go through. Also, it is a known fact it is the parents’ dream for their children to go to a good college and become successful afterwards, but what these celebrities did crushed those parents’ dreams because the celebrities cheated and took those admissions from students who deserved those admissions because they did everything they were supposed to do. Lastly, I agree with Peter Honczaryck, that it is a shame that these colleges are going against everything they stand for because most colleges do not tolerate cheating in any form, so it is really terrible for colleges to be admitting students into their school because their parents cheated and/or bribed the school because they are destroying the reputation they worked so long and hard for to obtained.

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