College Entrance Scandal

Sage Fusco

An Elite Scandal: “The Varsity Blues”

Now in the public eye, the scheme of one, William Rick Singer, is bringing down not only the reputations of many of the rich and famous but also causing chaos. After Singer’s scandal was theorized, and then confirmed by him, the plot of this scandal, dubbed the “Varsity Blues,” begins to thicken. Singer was operating a system to help gain children’s acceptance into some of the countries top schools, while at the same time committing multiple crimes.

Using his Non-Profit Organization, The Key Worldwide Foundation, which had been approved by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Singer was able to disguise bribery money as charitable donations. However this money was a result of parents who paid between $15,000 and $75,000, and in certain cases more, to get their children into the desired college. This task was managed through the falsification of their children’s High School Careers. In some cases, Singer would photoshop and stage images and create records to imply that students had participated in sports or clubs during their time at High school. Another method used was the paying off of exam proctors to boost ACT and SAT scores, making the students look more than eligible to attend the school. In addition, to make this all possible, Singer used bribery to gain assistance from inside sourcesㄧcollege administrators and athletic coachesㄧ at the schools to pretend that students were athletic recruits. He would then pass payment to his participants through the means of his charity.

Singer, however, is only the man who headed the affair, in order for it to run as it did though, many others had to be involved. Singer maintains that he has catered to around 800 parents, currently though, only over 50 suspects are being tried; of this two are ACT/SAT administrators, one an exam proctor, nine athletic coaches at elite schools, one college administrator and 33 parents, some very well known, such as the Full House star, Lori Loughlin, or the Desperate Housewives star, Felicity Huffman. Contributing to the mix as well, are philanthropists and company CEOs and founders.

The current issue at hand, however, is the effect of the situation: How should the future of the children be handled? In the circumstances of many, the students, whose parents participated in the scandal, often didn’t know of the affair. In this case, morality comes into play making it quite the controversy. On the other hand, some students were in on their parents paying off to get them into schools. With these conditions, their age at the time of the scandal, their level of involvement, and most importantly, what the government is able to prove, determines their fate. Moreover, how should the schools be handling the situation? And should the students be expelled? Ultimately, in the current state the choice remains the college’s but with the involvement of students and staff at colleges across the country such as the University of Southern California, UT-Texas at Austin, Yale, Stanford, Wake Forest University, Georgian University, University of California Los Angeles, and University of San Diego, their decision will affect many.

Going forward there are still many questions to be answered and many thoughts left up in the air, this being just the tip of the iceberg. What really is left though is the impact on those not involved. Students who unknowingly benefited from these activities have been living lies since high school. As well those students who continued on to graduate from college and get jobs afterward are thrown into a mishap in which their jobs are at risk. Another point of interest is other students; the admittance of these unqualified students also means the rejection of the applicants who rightfully deserved those spots in the student body, so how are they repaid for their loss? But at the top of this pyramid of confusion, what does this mean about our government and the laws in place which allowed this to happen?