The major developments of the 2019 college admissions scandal


Brinn Akervik

Colleges that have the potential to be a part of an admissions scandal

Actress Felicity Huffman, publicly known for her character in Desperate Housewives, appeared in federal court this past Monday, May 13th, 2019, as she pled guilty to cheating and bribing officials to improve her daughter’s test scores, influencing a college’s decision in accepting or rejecting a student.

What led this investigation to unfold was the lead from a separate investigation including Morrie Tobin, who was being searched for security and financial fraud. Tobin assumed giving investigators a tip on the scandal would give him better odds in not getting prosecuted himself.

Tobin’s tip brought them to Rick Singer, the college admissions consultant and mastermind behind it all. In total, Singer took in more than $25 millions from wealthy parents to get their under qualified kids into top ranked schools.

And it wasn’t only Singer who faced federal charges.

Nine elite school coaches, two SAT and ACT administrators, exam proctors, college administrates, along with dozens of parents including Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin.

Numerous coaches from schools like Yale, Georgetown, University of Austin, Wake Forest University, and Stanford are being held accountable and fired.  

Singer was able to get away with the scandal by concealing massive payments as charitable contributions to the Key Worldwide Foundation, which was a made-up nonprofit started to help poorer students but was created by Singer to launder money from parents who paid him. 

Loughlin publicly stated that she is refusing to admit to anything in connection with the scandal, although she has been accused with paying $500,000 to Rick Singer for her daughters to attend the University of Southern California as an athletic recruit. Huffman is expected to go to trial and plead guilty for giving $15,000 to a fraudulent cause and helping her daughter score a better percentage on her SAT.

Loughlin and her husband are awaiting a hearing, scheduled June 3rd, 2019.  Huffman was among 13 other parents who agreed to take responsibility for their actions in the scam.

The average amount of prison time for a scandal like this was reported to be a maximum of 20 years, but a plea deal Huffman agreed to made by federal prosecutors recommended only a maximum of four months, although she could end up completely less than that.

Prosecutors are also requiring a $20,000 fine, along with the possibility of passing time in a half-way house.

Many universities and colleges are preparing investigations to search students tied to the scandal, and ultimately expel them from school grounds. A handful of these schools include UC Berkeley, UCLA, USC, and the University of California. Here you can find more specific responses from various universities. 

It is still unknown if the children of these parents will face any charges related to the scandal.

For more obvious reasons, this scandal has created controversy throughout the college scene with students who may not be as well off as others and work tirelessly to get into their dream school. 

Students and the parents have filed class-action lawsuits against any universities that had a connection within the scandal, and Eric Levenson from CNN found many students stating that the process of their admission was “warped and rigged by fraud.” 

These lawsuits were pursued in part of unfair competition, violations of consumer law, and negligence, and demanded sorts of compensation and other types of relief. 

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