Federal investigators reveal colossal college admissions scam

Parents and students discover ‘the side door’ into university

Back to Article
Back to Article

Federal investigators reveal colossal college admissions scam

Skye McDonald

Skye McDonald

Skye McDonald

Samantha Swainson, Staff Reporter

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






Hidden in a nation of forced extroverts, scams are ingrained into American culture; everyday citizens are bombarded with blackmail, deceit, distortion and fraud whether fictional or real life. In the land of extreme consumerism, ranging from schools to the federal government people are desensitized to corruption.

On March 12 the largest college admissions scam in United States history was disclosed by federal prosecutors. The hoax included bribes in over 25 million, faked SAT and ACT scores, fabricated athletic credentials and disabilities.

Most recognizable amongst the 50 parents accused are “Full House” actress, Lori Loughlin, and “Desperate Housewives” star, Felicity Huffman. While the mastermind of the elaborate and gargantuan scheme is the nonprofit Key World Wide Foundation CEO, William Singer.

Nell Niewiadomski, a former SAT and ACT test prep tutor and current proctor of the annual test, wasn’t surprised at the attempted cheating but more so at the scale of the operation.

“This is bananas, the privilege of money, it makes me mad,” said Niewiadomski. “I’m not surprised because people bribe admissions boards to bring kids in all the time, are you going to hold their hands the whole time? If you get there you have to perform.”

Parents drove across the country to listen attentively to Singer’s speeches on insured college acceptance. He was the answer to hundreds of life after high school related prayers; he knew the secret of college admissions.

According to the Chronicle, Singer was reportedly caught saying “there’s a front door which means you can get in on your own, the back door is through institutional advancement, which is ten times as much money, and I’ve created the side door… Everybody’s got a friend of a friend… but there’s no guarantee, they’re just gonna give you a second look. My families want a guarantee.”

The investigation, now dubbed Operation Varsity Blues, has ruffled the feathers of hundreds of students, educators and parents. The investigation not only casts a disturbing light on shadowy elite deals, but the lengths people will go for admission into brand name schools.

“There are so many things that go into college admissions; essays, classes, grades, activities, this is one element,” said Niewiadomski. “Why did this end up being so huge? People need to calm down, let others fail. You need to let someone struggle, maybe not get into the best college. In college I failed my biology class, now I teach biology and AP Biology”

Investigators say that student’s fates will be determined case by case and the repercussions won’t extend outside those involved. Unless connected to the scam, having been found to cheat on the SAT/ACT or lied on the application, the chance of the average student admission has not been afflicted.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email