Noticias/ News

Wealthy families are caught up in biggest college cheating scandal


(ALEENA SIRITANAPIVAT/ La Plaza photo)

By ALEENA SIRITANAPIVAT

In March, many high school seniors are receiving their college decisions. They hope to get into their dream school, fear for the worst news and scream in delight over the best. However, all across the nation, high school and college students and parents are becoming infuriated over the latest news, the biggest college cheating scandal in history.

About 50 people of America’s elites have been caught and charged for taking part in false college admissions, including actresses Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman. In the center of it all lies William Rick Singer, who operated this scheme from his Newport Beach residence. Singer created so-called non-profit organizations named the Key and the Key Worldwide Foundation (KWF) to help less fortunate students get into college.

In reality, the CEO was bribing connections to gain their involvement in what has now been nicknamed Operation Varsity Blues. The scam had three parts that a parent could pay Singer to do: one, cheat on standardized tests like the SAT and the ACT; two, lie about being on a sports team or three, commit tax frauds.

Singer would arrange for a third-party to take the standardized test in place of the student or the student would be filed as having a fake learning disability, allowing students to gain extra time  and for the third-party to change the answers for them. He would also bribe coaches and college administrators from top schools, such as University of Southern California (USC), Stanford, Yale and more, to let students in as athletic recruits.

Among these disguised students was Olivia Jade, daughter of Loughlin and a well-known YouTuber, who was accepted into USC as a recruit for crew, or the rowing team. Singer would get his organizations to fake a student’s athletic profile, going as far as photoshopping their face onto an actual athlete.

Victoria Chung, alumnus of Redlands East Valley and a current student at USC, stated that though she is not surprised, she is disappointed that the wealthy would go to such lengths when they already have an upper hand in the application process. She also claimed that these students most likely replaced a student who actually worked hard like herself and could have been accepted.

Matt Kristoffersen is another alumnus of REV who now attends Yale University. Like Chung, he is not surprised. “Rich people will always find a way to take advantage of their existing privilege to maintain their wealth,” said Kristoffersen, “I know students like those named in the scandal. It feels terrible to know that people who don’t take such an amazing opportunity seriously are able to enjoy this privilege and so many more qualified people aren’t.”

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