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School to deny students access to class, transcripts

The University of Southern California says it won’t allow students currently at the school who may be associated with the nation’s largest-ever college admissions bribery scandal to register for classes as the school conducts a “case-by-case review” of their involvement. 

USC announced in a statement late Monday that the school has placed the accounts of each of these students on hold and notified them of their status. The action also means the students can’t acquire transcripts until their review is completed. 

After the review, the school said USC will then take “proper action related to their status, up to revoking admission or expulsion.” The university said it would make ” informed decisions about those cases as the reviews are completed.”

USC noted it has already determined which applicants in the current admissions cycle, who were seeking entry for the fall 2019 semester, are connected to the alleged scheme. They will be denied admission, the university said. 

USC officials did not say how many of its current students are involved in the elaborate bribery scheme, nor did they identify any names of students.

Two of the students are the daughters of actress Lori Loughlin, who along with her husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli, allegedly paid bribes of $500,000 in exchange for having them being designed as crew team recruits at USC even though neither played the sport.

More: College admissions scandal: What did the students know about ‘the side door,’ and what should happen next?

USC’s move comes as other universities implicated in the bribery scheme have also targeted current students linked to the cheating.   

At Yale University, the school’s president Peter Salovey said on Friday that a Yale coach – identified as women’s soccer head coach Rudy Meredith in court documents –gave bogus athletic endorsements to two students, only one of whom was admitted to Yale.

He said the school does not comment on disciplinary actions of an individual student but added that “our longstanding policy is to rescind the admission of students who falsified their Yale College applications.”

Following a nearly one-year FBI investigation, prosecutors have alleged that wealthy parents of underachieving students paid enormous sums to either cheat on the ACT or SAT exam or to have college athletics coaches pretend that an applicant was a prized recruit in their particular sport. The latter was described as a “side door” to get them into some of the nation’s elite schools. 

Fifty parents, coaches, exam administrators and the ringleader behind the scheme, William “Rick” Singer, are defendants in a federal bribery and conspiracy case led by the Justice Department out of Boston. 

After court documents were unsealed last week, USC took action last Tuesday night to terminate two of its employees connected to the case: associate athletic director Donna Heinel and legendary water polo coach Jovan Vavic, a 16-time national champion who had led the team since 1995.

More: The ‘really smart guy’ who aced SATs for rich students: ‘I will always regret’ the scandal

Both individuals were charged in the scheme. The school, which opened an internal investigation and a review of its admissions process, sad it also placed on leave a faculty member who was named in the federal indictment as a parent.

USC administrators also say the school is in the process of identifying donations that may have been received in connection with the alleged scheme. They say they intend to determine how to redirect those funds to a non-USC organization that will benefit undeserved students. The school did not say how much in donations was collected through the scam.

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