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Editorial: Admissions scandal not surprising

William+%E2%80%9CRick%E2%80%9D+Singer+leaves+Boston+Federal+Court+after+being+charged+with+racketeering+conspiracy%2C+money+laundering+conspiracy%2C+conspiracy+to+defraud+the+United+States+and+obstruction+of+justice+last+Tuesday+in+Boston.+Singer+is+among+several+charged+in+an+alleged+college+admissions+scam.
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Editorial: Admissions scandal not surprising

William “Rick” Singer leaves Boston Federal Court after being charged with racketeering conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy, conspiracy to defraud the United States and obstruction of justice last Tuesday in Boston. Singer is among several charged in an alleged college admissions scam.

William “Rick” Singer leaves Boston Federal Court after being charged with racketeering conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy, conspiracy to defraud the United States and obstruction of justice last Tuesday in Boston. Singer is among several charged in an alleged college admissions scam.

Scott Eisen/Getty Images/TNS

William “Rick” Singer leaves Boston Federal Court after being charged with racketeering conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy, conspiracy to defraud the United States and obstruction of justice last Tuesday in Boston. Singer is among several charged in an alleged college admissions scam.

Scott Eisen/Getty Images/TNS

Scott Eisen/Getty Images/TNS

William “Rick” Singer leaves Boston Federal Court after being charged with racketeering conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy, conspiracy to defraud the United States and obstruction of justice last Tuesday in Boston. Singer is among several charged in an alleged college admissions scam.

By The Pitt News Editorial Board

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Federal officials charged 50 people including actresses, investors and chief executives last Tuesday in the largest college admissions scam ever prosecuted by the U.S. Department of Justice. Participants of the scheme paid bribes of up to $6.5 million to secure a place for their children at elite colleges like Yale, Stanford and the University of Southern California. Others fabricated disabilities to receive time extensions on standardized tests.

While the bribery scheme is outrageous, it should not spark surprise. Instead, it should highlight the enormous advantages wealthy Americans possess that allow them to get into college due to factors other than their intellect or accomplishments. The case brings attention to the entrenched generational inequality that plagues opportunities for advancement.

“This case is about the widening corruption of elite college admissions through the steady application of wealth combined with fraud,” U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts Andrew Lelling said at a press conference.

Parents engaging in the scheme engaged in two major forms of fraud to ensure their children possessed an unfair advantage over their peers.

“One was to cheat on the SAT or ACT, and the other was to [use] connections with Division I coaches and use bribes to get these parents’ kids into school with fake athletic credentials,” Lelling said.

Whereas most students with disabilities would need months to be approved for special accommodations while taking college admissions exams, the children of the charged individuals acquired approvals through personal psychologists by feigning disabilities. Parents would then fabricate reasons to change the test location to testing centers where proctors could be bribed to change incorrect answers or take the tests themselves.

Other parents, like actress Lori Loughlin, paid athletic coaches at universities to falsify athletic credentials for their children. Loughlin’s daughters were designated as recruits to the USC crew team despite having never participated in the sport. Loughlin merely sent photos of her daughters on a rowing machine.

The scheme’s leader, William Singer, disguised bribes using his nonprofit he claimed was set up to help disadvantaged students. Singer called Loughlin’s husband, Mossimo Giannulli, in 2018 to clarify a cover story about Giannulli’s immense bribe paid to the nonprofit.

“So I just want to make sure our stories are the same … and that your $400K was paid to our foundation to help underserved kids,” Singer said.

Uh, perfect,” Giannulli allegedly responded.

For many students, the college admissions process should be a merit-based process providing opportunities to move up in the world. For these wealthy Americans, it’s a game they were paying to play and paying to win.

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Editorial: Admissions scandal not surprising