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The college admissions scam involving Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman shows how some rich families use a “side door” to game an already unfair education system.
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In a class action suit, two Stanford University students are suing the University of Southern California, Yale, the University of California Los Angeles and other institutions involved in a massive alleged admissions bribery case involving affluent parents paying coaches to get their kids into top universities. 

Erica Olsen and Kalea Woods say they were denied a fair opportunity to gain admission to their choice of a top college, and that their Stanford degrees were devalued, by criminal racketeering charges leveled by federal prosecutors.

In the federal complaint, Olsen, from Henderson, Nevada, said she had “stellar” standardized test scores and athletic talent, but was nonetheless rejected by Yale after paying her application fee.

“Had she known that the system at Yale University was warped and rigged by fraud, she would not have spent the money to apply to the school,” the lawsuit states. “She also did not receive what she paid for—a fair admissions consideration process.”

Likewise, Woods, from San Diego, said in the complaint that she was an exceptional student and athlete, but when applying to enter the University of Southern California “was never informed that the process of admission at USC was an unfair, rigged process, in which parents could buy their way into the university through bribrey and dishonest schemes.”

Woods, like Olsen, said her Stanford degree “is now not worth as much as it was before, because prospective employers may now question  whether she was admitted to the university on her own merits, versus having rich parents who were willing to bribe school officials.”

The alleged scandal, as laid out in court Tuesday in a federal indictment and a guilty plea by a rogue college consultant, involved bribing coaches, falsifying athletic records and substituting exam takers. 

The consultant, William “Rick” Singer, 58, of Newport Beach, California, pleaded guilty to racketeering, money laundering, tax evasion and obstruction of justice in a federal courtroom in Boston.

The scandal has implicated celebrity actors such as Lori Loughlin of “Full House” and Felicity Huffman of “Desperate Housewives” (and her husband William H. Macy, who is not charged.) Also named: wealthy CEOs, prominent lawyers, and accomplished athletic coaches at Division I schools.

A 204-page affidavit from an FBI agent laid out a scheme involving proctors changing test results, fabricated credentials and even doctored pictures to make non-athletic students appear to be accomplished athletes.  

The result: Dozens of wealthy and well-connected parents got their under-qualified children into elite colleges like Yale, Georgetown and Stanford.

Contributing: Kevin McCoy

 

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