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Operation Varsity Blues: The College Admissions Scandal

After high school, most of us went through the struggle of choosing a university. We would wait weeks hoping that we have good enough grades to get into the schools that we picked out. Well, imagine if someone just paid their way into the school. Just recently, news broke out about a scheme regarding college admissions in the US, which many note to be the biggest college admissions scandal in US history.


Operation Varsity Blues uncovered a widespread fraudulent scheme for college admissions in the United States. In this scandal, CEOs, celebrities and others belonging to the rich and famous were able to get their children into prestigious schools through unlawful means. These parents, along with college coaches, exam proctors, college administrators and SAT/ACT administrators are now being indicted with federal charges, and being sued by a group of students and parents over the scam.


Through an elaborate system composed of bribery, cheating and lies, these affluent parents were able to get their children into universities such as University of Southern California, Stanford University and Yale University. William Rick Singer, the culprit of the scheme, accepted payments from these parents by disguising the money as charity donations for his company, Key Worldwide Foundation. Singer’s foundation acted under the pretense of providing educational opportunities to the underprivileged. He would then oversee cheating on standardized tests by bribing exam proctors or having another person take the test on behalf of the student. Singer also bribed college coaches he knew, ‘recommending’ the children as potential recruits for college sports teams to ensure their positions in the institutions. Parents allegedly paid anywhere from $15,000 to cheat on tests to as much as $6.5 million. Some of these parents kept their children in the dark about the scheme, with their children finding out only when news about the scandal broke out.



While some of the involved await trial and remain to be sentenced, investigations about the case continue. Additionally, schools are launching private investigations on their admissions process and on the students involved in the scheme. With some students previously unaware of the nature of their admission, most universities decide the future of each student involved on a case-by-case basis. Depending on the findings for each student connected to the scandal, their admission can be revoked, they may be charged, or they may be allowed to continue, as some of them were minors at the time of admission.


As news spread about the scandal, many became enraged over the actions of those involved. By participating in this scheme, these parents have indirectly taken spots reserved for more deserving students, some of who were rejected from these universities. While these parents may want the best for their children, doing so through unjust means largely undermines not only the law but also students and their families who may not have the same resources but are extremely hard working. This was a clear instance wherein the rich unrightfully used their wealth to cheat the system for their own gain in an admissions systems that is supposedly based on merit and diligence.


Dianne Victor is a Communication Studies student with a passionate flair for the creative arts. Currently in her third country of residence, she loves to explore the city and find new hidden gems.
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