Across the country, this is the time of year when many high school seniors are making the decision of where they will be attending college next fall. This can be a very stressful time of year, as many look forward to hearing if they were accepted into the colleges and universities to which they have applied. Adding to this stress, recent news of the college admission scandal has raised many questions about the fairness of the college admissions process. The FBI recently accused numerous wealthy, well-known actors, CEO’s, senior executives, and athletic coaches of being involved in college-entrance bribery schemes. Students and parents alike are outraged by the injustices of the college process that have been brought to light.
Fifty people accused of participating in bribery schemes to enable privileged students to attend prestigious colleges have been charged by the Justice Department. Two of these people are actresses Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman. This scandal involves many highly selective schools such as Georgetown University, Yale University, Stanford University, USC and UCLA. Students were not charged, as lawyers targeted their parents as being the main actors in the scheme.
One of the most prominent figures involved in the scandal is Lori Loughlin and her husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli. Loughlin has been in the TV and film industry for many years, most known for her role as “Aunt Becky” in TV show Full House. Loughlin allegedly paid $500,000 to a college prep business run by scheming college counselor, William “Rick” Singer, to ensure that her two daughters would be admitted to the University of Southern California. Loughlin’s nineteen-year-old daughter, Olivia Jade Gianilli, has a huge following of her own with almost 2 million subscribers on Youtube and 1.4 million followers on Instagram. Olivia Jade’s success with her fashion and beauty-focused Youtube channel has allowed her to receive partnerships with many major companies, although companies like Sephora have stopped working with her in light of the accusations. Olivia Jade Gianilli and her sister Isabella Rose Gianilli allegedly posed as crew recruits for the University of Southern California in order to be accepted into this university, despite the fact that these girls were not competitive rowers by any means. Therefore, many people question how Loughlin’s daughters were not aware that they were being accepted into USC by unfair means. Olivia Jade even mentioned on her YouTube channel that she was most looking forward to college for “game days and parties” and that school wasn’t as important to her.
Along with Loughlin, Felicity Huffman, the actress most-known for her role in the TV show Desperate Housewives, allegedly chose a different route in order to benefit her eldest daughter. Huffman and her husband allegedly paid 15,000 to alter her daughter’s SAT score. Allegedly, she worked with college counselor William Singer as well in order to make this happen for their daughter, Sophia Grace Macy.
This scandal did not only involve affluent parents; a number of NCAA Division I coaches from top-ranked schools were charged with accepting bribes to help get students into school by pretending they were athletic recruits. Former Georgetown tennis coach Gordon Ernst, former UCLA men’s soccer coach Jorge Salcedo, Wake Forest women’s volleyball coach Bill Ferguson, and Ali Khosroshahin, former head coach of the women’s soccer at USC, were only a few of the coaches charged by the Justice Department. Former Georgetown men’s tennis coach is accused of accepting 2.7 million dollars in bribes to designate twelve applicants as recruits for the tennis team. Today, the college recruiting process for athletics is extremely competitive for almost every sport. A very select few athletes are selected to be part of college teams, but numerous students who were pretending to be athletic recruits took away a spot from a talented athletes. In most of these cases, the students posing as prospective recruits did not even play the sport they were being recruited for.
This scandal, involving bribery, cheating, and lying, has raised many questions and has understandably frustrated many students and parents. For many wealthy celebrities and CEO’s, their child’s admission to a prestigious university is a marker of their social status. But it is extremely unfortunate for hardworking students, as a considerable number of spots at universities are being filled up by students who may not deserve to be there. And many people don’t realize that there are plenty of legal ways that people can use their money to help their children get into top schools. When it comes to the college process, Americans sometimes believe that affirmative action laws unfairly admit minorities into select universities, even though that’s not really what is happening. These allegations against wealthy individuals are a reminder that many spots at colleges are filled by those who go to extreme measures using their money to get their children into top schools.