Alexis Rodriguez Mejia

Photograph of college pendants on a classroom wall at Middle College High School.

Imagine going to high school everyday to pursue your education to the best of your abilities. You sacrificed your social life just to have extra time to study to ensure you aced that one test, midterm, or final. The final grade in that class is only overshadowed by the stress, the lack of sleep, and the lack of free time used for that course. Your mentality for doing this? To get into a prestigious institute of higher education, albeit your dream college or university. Now flash forward to just a few weeks ago, when it was discovered that some affluent parents would actively use their wealth to ensure universities would accept their children and potentially rob deserving students of their spots, regardless of their academic merit, standardized test scores, and thoughts on education.

Junior Franklin Guevara said, “I feel like they don’t deserve that because the only thing that decided whether or not they went to college was their family name. It wasn’t their determinations, or academic merit. It was just that they were born into a family that was wealthy enough, and that was willing to cheat.”

Recently, it was discovered that approximately 33 wealthy parents allegedly paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to a college consultant to portray their children as successful athletes, in order to boost the chances of their children being accepted. They would accomplish this by hiring a college consultant named William Singer, to help their child. He accomplished this by creating a “nonprofit” named Key Worldwide Foundation, and having parents donate money to it. This allowed parents to get tax write offs for “donating” money, as well as cover it up legally. According to NPR, William Singer would use a plethora of methods to help their children, such as having a stand-in take a college entrance exam, photo-shopping, bribing college sports coaches and paying up to $75,000 for falsified exam results.

Junior Franklin Guevara said, “There should definitely be more regulations to prevent this from happening. Now that this has been revealed, there should definitely be more regulations.”

Nonetheless William Singer wasn’t the only one who abused the system to help his clients; famed actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin were also caught. According to CNN, “Loughlin and her husband allegedly agreed to pay bribes totaling $500,000 to have their two daughters designated as recruits to the University of Southern California crew team.” However, neither of Loughlin’s daughters ever competed in crew, a complaint states. Additionally according to the same CNN article, “Huffman and her spouse ‘made a purported charitable contribution of $15,000 to [Key Worldwide Foundation] to participate in the college entrance exam cheating scheme on behalf of her oldest daughter,’ the complaint said.”

Those charged include two SAT/ACT administrators, one exam proctor, nine coaches at elite schools, one college administrator, and 33 parents. Most of the coaches at the elite schools have been dismissed, and most if not all parents have lost their high ranking positions such as CEO. That being said, most of the children are not being punished or legally sued in any way. According to a NBC news article, “Loughlin was fired Thursday from the Hallmark Channel, on which she has been a staple, and beauty retailer Sephora announced hours earlier it has ended its partnership with Giannulli, who is a social media influencer.” Additionally, Sephora made the decision to end the partnership with Olivia Jade, Lori Loughlin’s daughter.

As Mr.You said, “As a teacher I’ve been questioning myself the past week. What is the purpose of pursuing education, higher education? It’s sad but even if these children get their degrees rescinded, they will still be earning the same money. Like the girl, Olivia Jade, she already made money off her Youtube and Instagram. She didn’t need to fake her college admissions.”

Moreover, the colleges and universities have begun to speak out and take action accordingly. All the coaches linked to the scandal have been dismissed or put on sick leave until further notice. In terms of what the universities are doing specifically, the University of Southern California (USC) has suspended class registration for students who might be linked to admissions scam as well as is in the process of identifying donations that may be linked with Singer’s nonprofit to redirect  those funds. On the other hand Stanford has already identified that $770,000 was contributed by the Key Worldwide Foundation, William Singer’s fake nonprofit. Stanford pledges to donate all that money to an entity not affiliated with Stanford.

On the other hand, Yale has rescinded the admission of one student connected to college cheating scheme. According to CNBC, “[Yale] has rescinded the admission of one student as a result of this matter.”

Mr. You said,”I know people who actually have disabilities, and choose not to get accommodations for standardized tests. They want the experience of taking the test as it was normally intended. It’s disappointing that these people took advantage of disabilities to get more time on tests just to get a higher score. Collegeboard and the ACT need to start asking themselves how to prevent cases like this, and colleges should reevaluate how much consideration is placed on standardized testing.”