Top universities under federal investigation following admissions scandal
Emma Dobbs, Section Editor
The University of Southern California (USC), University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), and Yale, are under investigation following a national admissions scandal impacting some of Hollywood’s wealthiest celebrities and their children. Prosecutors charged over 50 people with falsifying admissions information to get unqualified students admitted to top-tier schools. Of these people, 33 are parents, who worked with William Singer, a consultant and college counselor, to create fake college applications for their students. Actress Lori Loughlin and her husband Mossimo Giannulli, a fashion designer, and actress Felicity Huffman, were indicted in these charges. The U.S. Department of Education launched their investigation into the college admissions scandal on March 27. USC has announced they are conducting investigations against students involved in the college admissions scandal on a case by case basis.
Consultant Singer offered wealthy parents the chance to get their students into top-tier universities across the nation. The 59-year-old bribed athletic coaches and test monitors to falsify records and test scores to make student applications look stronger to admissions workers at universities. Parents involved in the scheme paid upwards of $75,000 for Singer to get their students higher test scores. Many parents were provided with falsified learning disability waivers, so their students could have more time to test or could test without supervision. In many situations, an individual other than the student would take exams in place of the students, a proctor would provide answers to the students during exams, or a student’s test would be reviewed, and wrong answers fixed before the test was turned in. Many students were unaware that their answers were changed after turning in their exam. Singer also worked with athletic coaches and parents to create images of students playing athletics they were not involved in, so they could be recruited or scouted as athletes. Coaches were paid for their part in the admissions scandal. Singer has since pled guilty, as well as Rudy Meredith, a former women’s soccer coach for Yale.
Loughlin and Giannulli have been indicted in the admissions case. The actress, who for years has advocated for morals in life and television, is accused of working with Singer to get her two daughters, Isabella Rose Giannulli, 20, and Olivia Jade Giannulli, 19, into USC. Neither Isabella or Olivia, a social media influencer, has commented on the allegations. Loughlin and Giannulli are accused of staging photos of their daughters on rowing machines to create an image and story that they were on their high school’s rowing team. Neither daughter was involved in high school athletics, and neither have competed for USC athletics. Loughlin and Giannulli paid a total of $500,000 to USC to admit their daughters into the university. While Olivia Jade has not spoken out about the college admissions scandal, she has not been shy about her disdain for academics, posting that she goes to college for the “experience of game days” and “partying.” Her comments have sparked outrage amidst college students and continue to spark controversy.
Actress Huffman has also been indicted in the scandal. Her husband, actor William H. Macy, has not been cited in the allegations. Huffman is accused of paying Singer $15,000 to allow her daughter Sofia Grace Macy to take part in entrance-exam cheating. Huffman, Loughlin and Giannulli will stand trial on April 3 for their part in this national scandal.