College Admissions Scandal Angers the Public

What would you do to secure a future for your child? On March 12, 2019, 50 people were charged for allegedly bribing college admission influencers for their children at prestigious universities. So far, there have been celebrities, CEO’s, and college coaches connected to the scheme to admit unqualified students.

The origin of the scheme has been traced back to William “Rick” Singer, a college counselor centered at Newport Beach, California. He operated an organization where a third-party would take the SAT or ACT in place of the actual student or worked with college coaches to create an artificial background for non-athletic recruits to secure their admission.

Out of the 50 individuals charged, 33 have been identified as parents and 13 coaches, as well as 2 SAT and ACT test administrators. He had roughly 700 clients, but it has not been confirmed if they all took part in illegal activities. Singer is currently facing up to 65 years in jail and a $1.25 million fine after pleading guilty to money laundering, racketeering conspiracy, tax conspiracy, and obstruction of justice.

Lori Loughlin, better known as “Aunt Becky” from Full House, was charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services fraud for bribing school officials with $500,000 at USC so her two daughters could be recruited to the crew team, even though neither daughter had participated in crew. Olivia Jade Gianulli, Loughlin’s 19 year old daughter and social media influencer, was admitted to USC as a freshman alongside her older sister Isabella Rose.

Olivia has stated she was only interested in attending college for the parties and school was not a priority for her. Her public image has been shamed, with many calling her undeserving and ungrateful; Sephora has dropped their partnership with her after the scandal surfaced. Despite both of her parents being charged, both daughters have not been charged.

The accused individuals have received social backlash from celebrities and the public. People have criticized these parents for “forcing” their children to go to elite colleges, as if they have no value if they did not and for not believing in their child’s abilities. Hard work has been stressed by many commentators and anger towards the position that an undeserving rich kid took from a hard-worker student. USC has announced that any money received from the scandal will be issued towards underprivileged students. The college admissions scandal has raised questions about the “aristocracy posing as a meritocracy”.