Dedicated students and athletes commit a majority of their young academic lives to preparing for college. That college diploma, as well as the university listed on their resumes, will play a huge factor into how the rest of their lives will unfold. One would hope the application process is fair and admission would only be granted to the most qualified students. However, when politics and money are involved, fair is not always the winning adjective.
A federal indictment was announced on Tuesday, March 12, involving a number of celebrities and business executives who paid into the millions to get their children into the top universities in the country. The average price parents were willing to pay was between $250,000 and $400,000, with the highest amount recorded at $6.5 million. The colleges named in the investigation are Georgetown University, University of Southern California, Yale University, Stanford University, University of Texas at Austin, Wake Forest University, and University of California, Los Angeles.
The scandal was dubbed “Operation Varsity Blues.” College admissions counselors accepted payments from wealthy parents, with the promise that their children would be enrolled in the colleges. Some went so far as to photoshop the prospective students’ faces to the bodies of actual athletes, in order to prove that their children should be recruited as Division 1 competitors. In particular, former ‘Full House’ star, Lori Loughlin, used her celebrity status and money to pay her daughters’ way into the University of Southern California and onto the rowing team. Her oldest daughter enrolled in 2016, and her youngest enrolled in the Fall 2018 semester. The ironic element is neither of Loughlin’s daughters are rowers, and therefore, were provided opportunities ahead of legitimate athletes.
In addition to actors, the professions of the 50 other wealthy individuals named in the indictment include professors, entrepreneurs, CEOs, business executives, and doctors. Despite popular belief, those who are wealthy are not immune to the criminal justice system. The US Department of Justice is prosecuting the case, which will hopefully hold both the wealthy and the colleges equally accountable for the scandal. Perhaps colleges will then place more value and consideration into selecting qualified students for enrollment, allowing the deserving students to prosper.