Cheating the System: College Admissions Scandal

“High GPA, extracurriculars, and years of hard work? Who needs that when you have millions of dollars to bribe your way into the college of your dreams?” remarked junior Madeline Doyle. Recently, news broke of the biggest college scandal to ever hit American admissions offices–Yale, Stanford, Georgetown, University of Southern California (USC), and UCLA are just a few of the colleges involved in this high-profile scam. At the center of this notorious cheating scandal are Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin, most known for their roles on Desperate Housewives and Full House, respectively. Loughlin and her husband Mossimo Giannulli were accused of paying $500,000 for each of her two daughters, Olivia Jade and Isabella Rose, to fake their spot on the USC rowing team in order to be accepted. Huffman was accused of paying $15,000 to boost her first daughter’s SAT score.

A professional scammer named William “Rick” Singer made these schemes possible by providing series of services that all involved navigating around the system. One service was that he would bribe college coaches to pretend that a student played a sport and had a spot on the team, thereby allowing the student to attend the university. Singer would “professionally” crop the students’ faces onto pictures of people competing in that sport. This was the service that the Giannulli family utilized, bribing the coaches to act like their daughters were talented. About two weeks before the scandal became publicized, Olivia Jade said, “But I do want the experience of like game days, partying…I don’t really care about school, as you guys all know” (YouTube: @oliviajade). This was the statement that started to make her followers question her abilities, since  going to a school with a 13% acceptance rate while not caring about school simply did not add up.

Another service that Singer provided was faking test scores. He would either set it up to appear as if  like the student had a disability that required extra time for the test, bribe the proctor to fix the answers after the student took it (sometimes without their knowledge), take the test for the student, or utilize a combination of these tactics all at the same time. This was the offer the Huffman took part in with one daughter (and, allegedly, her other daughter as well.)

After weeks of backlash and derogatory headlines, Olivia claimed that her parents ruined her life and her YouTube career by forcing her to take part in this illegal scheme. Despite the Giannulli girls’ formal withdrawal from USC last month, they are still technically enrolled as the board of admissions conducts a “case-by-case” study for each of the accused.While Olivia has done everything to stay away from her parents, Isabella was seen running errands with them.

As for the current situation, a massive investigation is underway. “I think that this situation is completely unfair because while there are plenty of qualified students who really wanted to go to these top schools and applied the right way, they couldn’t [get in] because people bribed their way into these schools,” said junior Ami Carey. There are 50 plus parents and students (not to mention hundreds of coaches and administrators) who are implicated in the investigation for committing fraud and racketeering by money laundering.

This discovery has uncovered another piece of this “unknown” corruption of the college admissions process and has led many college administrators to reevaluate the content of their application.