The College Scandal

Heather Choi, Staff Writer

We hear about scandals and gossip everyday.  Every single one of them. Now let’s think for a second.  There are millions of students taking the SAT every year, right?  So, does all of the hard work and preparation actually pay off? And most importantly, is it really worth it?

At the start of this college scandal mess, there were 50 people that were involved in this insidious scheme, either bribing college officials to accept these young adults as college athletes or having the standardized tests ¨cheated,” according to CNN.  Among those 50 people, there were two actresses involved, Lori Loughlin (Full House) and Felicity Huffman (Desperate Housewives), that ¨guided¨ their children into their adult lives.   However, this method turned out to be a complete disaster. It all started with a man named William ¨Rick¨ Singer.  

Now what´s with him? Why is he involved in this scheme?  Well, it’s much more complicated than you think. It began way back in 2011 when Singer first began creating two organizations, The Edge College & Career Network and The Key Worldwide Foundation, according to Forbes.  However, the  Key World Foundation used money as bribing payments instead of helping poorer students, says CNN.  According to NBC News, parents have been paying Singer $15,000 to $75,000 per test for someone else to take the SAT or ACT exams in place of their children or replaced the children´s answers with his own for the past eight years. This “someone else” is another man named Mark Riddell, a former Harvard tennis player and a college entrance exam counselor, who was hired by Singer, says The Washington Post.

In addition, Singer went even further by advising the parents to have their children take extended time during the exam.  For instance, a student would claimed he/she had a learning disability by obtaining the necessary medical document, which are required by the College Boards, to have time extension.  He bribed the college administrators, Igor Dvorsiky from Los Angeles and Lisa “Niki” Williams from Houston. In exchange, those people allowed Singer to secretly proceed with his plan.  What sounds even crazier is that for the past eight years, some parents have paid him at approximately $25 million to bribe the college officials to make their children appear to be college athletes, says NBC News.

This source also concluded that Singer would create fake profiles for the students and portrayed them as highly successful high school athletes to colleges.  An insider source of The New York Times stated,¨The parents of a student applying to Yale paid Mr. Singer $1.2 million to help her get admitted. The student, who did not play soccer, was described as the co-captain of a prominent club soccer team in Southern California in order to be recruited for the Yale women’s soccer team. The head coach of the Yale team, Rudolph Meredith, was bribed at least $400,000 to recruit the student.¨

Both Loughlin and Huffman became part of Singer´s infamous scheme by bribing numerous colleges and their athletic coaches.  Lori Loughlin and her husband, Mossimo Giannulli, agreed to bribe $500,000 in total to get their two  daughters into University of South Carolina, according to CNN. In fake profiles for their daughters, they were portrayed as competitive rowers, although they had never done it in real life, says Fox News. These fake profiles got them  accepted into USC as recruit athletes.

However, Lori Loughlin didn´t plead guilty of her crimes. Intead, she claimed it to be a  “misunderstanding.” Fox News stated, “After rejecting a plea agreement, the couple was hit with additional charges of money laundering and conspiracy. If convicted of all charges against them, they each face up to 40 years in prison.

On the other hand, Felicity Huffman confessed to paying  Rick Singer $15,000 to have a proctor correct her eldest daughter´s SAT answers. She also confessed that she had planned  to do the same thing with her younger daughter, but chose against it, says Fox News.  

According to Fox News, she appeared to be overly emotional when pleading guilty to all charges she had committed.  She also added, “I am pleading guilty to the charge brought against me by the United States Attorney’s Office….accept full responsibility for my actions and will accept the consequences … I am ashamed of the pain I have caused my daughter, my family, my friends, my colleagues and the educational community… I want to apologize to the students who work hard every day to get into college, and to their parents who make tremendous sacrifices to support their children and do so honestly.” She will be sentenced in September 13th,  says Fox News.