As anyone who has ever applied to an elite university knows, competition is fierce.
There’s stiff competition when it comes to grade point averages, essays, SAT scores, extracurricular activities, and securing quality letters of recommendation. However, new allegations allege that some wealthy students and their parents have been working around the system for years by paying off a number of coaches, SAT and ACT exam administrators, exam proctors, and at least one college administrator to the tune of well over $25 million dollars over a seven-year time span.
Two of the major Hollywood A-listers among those charged with bribing their children’s way into elite universities include actresses c as well as at least 30 other wealthy executives. According to federal officials, the college cheating scandal, whose investigation was appropriately named “Varsity Blues,” is the largest ever prosecuted by the U.S. Department of Justice,
According to the allegations, those indicted allegedly paid bribes of up to $6 million per person to get their children into elite colleges, including Yale, Stanford, Georgetown, the University of Southern California, the University of Texas, UCLA, and Wake Forest.
In a Tuesday news conference, Andrew Lelling, the U.S. attorney for the District of Massachusetts, claimed that the ring leader of the scam is allegedly William Singer, owner of a college counseling service called Key Worldwide Foundation. Lelling alleges that Singer accepted bribes totaling $25 million from parents between 2011 and 2018 “to guarantee their children’s admission to elite schools.”
The allegations have been met with fierce criticism from government officials, school administrators, students, and the general public alike- especially considering the prestige associated with the schools named in the accusation. For example, according to PrepScholar, the average SAT score composite at Yale is a 1505 (on a 1600 point scale), the average grade point for a student coming out of high school is 4.12, and the acceptance rate at Yale is about 6.3%, making it one of the most competitive in the world. The other named schools also have similarly high standards.
In a scathing statement, Lelling rebukes the parents whose cheating didn’t just get their students into school but kept other more qualified students out. “The parents are a catalog of wealth and privilege,” Lelling said, adding that “there can be no separate college admissions system for the wealthy and, I’ll add, there will not be a separate criminal justice system either.”