At SAA, many seniors are anticipating the nerve-wracking acceptance or denial letter from their chosen schools or are making the choice on which one to finally attend. Getting into college is stressful, especially if it is one of the top schools, an Ivy League even; you won’t know until months after you apply if you got in, and you worry over the fact that you are one of many applicants who are all vying for entrance. There’s no way to guarantee you’ll make it in, but for some, it is as easy as making large “donations” to the school in order to secure a seat. That is the case in the recent scandal rocking colleges across America, as more and more evidence shows that around 33 parents, mostly celebrities, were found using the services provided by a man named William Singer to get their children into top schools under false pretenses.
The Way It Worked:
William Singer had his own college counseling business, one that, besides providing real help for improving test scores and advising students moving on to college, was also an operation in which wealthy parents could pay big money for Singer to falsify information about their children that would help them get into better colleges. Actual people used his legal services, which helped their children get into college; some of these people are advertised on the business’s website. However, not included on the home page are the parents that sought Singer’s help through less legal means.
How to Get Them In:
Singer had two ways to get students into the colleges: rigging SAT and ACT scores and using coaches of colleges to get students in on athletic rides. There were plenty of ways to change a student’s test scores: having someone take the test in their place, having a test proctor (who is involved in the plot) help the student with answers, or having someone fix wrong answers post-test. Singer would also employ the favors of coaches of places like University of Texas or Georgetown to let students into the school on the basis that these students were amazing athletes. Sometimes, though, the students hadn’t even played the sport they were admitted for.
What Happens Now:
After the web of wrong doing was discovered last year, the FBI launched an investigation that found people like William H. Macy, who plays Frank on the show Shameless, and Lori Loughlin, who used to play Rebecca on Full House, are involved and have donated thousands of dollars to fake organizations that were just fronts for Singer’s more secretive business. The investigation has found 50 people involved in the scheme at this point, but everyone who has been arrested, including Singer, is out on bond, some of which are as magnificent as $500,000. However, each of the folks out on bond will eventually show up for their trial and either plead guilty or not. Some parents who paid smaller sums of around $75,000 face up to 17 months in jail, while those who paid upwards of $500,000 could see 30 months, if not more, in jail.
Sadly, most of the students weren’t even aware of their parents’ efforts. Other students, not apart of the scandal, are upset at the fact that it was so easy for some of these students to be admitted by illegal means, and feel as if they have been treated unfairly by the participating schools. Speaking of which, USC, the University of Southern California, is now facing more skepticism and criticism because of its current and previous involvement in scandal, not to mention that it has the highest number of coaches and athletic officials taking bribes compared to the other involved colleges. Many coaches involved with the scandal have been either fired or been placed on leave by the schools.
However, the most interesting part of the case is yet to come: Singer claims he had one client who paid around $6.5 million, but neither the parent nor the college involved has been revealed.