Komorebi Post:“For every student admitted through fraud, an honest, talented student was rejected.” – Andrew Lelling, U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts
On March 12th, 2019, the FBI and U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts, Andrew Lelling announced the largest college admissions scam ever prosecuted in the United States. Thirty-three wealthy parents paid out thousands of dollars to secure their children’s admissions onto some of the United States’ elite college campuses. Of the accused, there are several famous actresses, a fashion designer, CEOs, real estate investors, and a co-chairman of a global law firm.
The accusations include:
- Bribing college entrance exam administrators to allow someone to take the ACT/SAT in the student’s place
- Allowing someone to change the student’s test scores after the exam was complete in order to obtain a higher score
- Bribing athletic coaches to accept their child onto their school teams knowing that the child had never played in the sport prior to college
- Paying other people to take classes in the student’s place to earn higher grades in specific courses
- Creating fake applications with photo shopped athletic profiles
All of this for the purpose of giving their child a competitive edge in their future.
The announcement of this scam was of no surprise to coaches and consultants that work with students and parents all over the United States. Parents can hire coaches and consultants to help guide their teenagers in the college admissions process. Robert Schwartz, founder of Your Best College Essay, told NBC News that parents have offered him money to write their teen’s essays for their college admissions applications due to their child’s “busy schedule.” Schwartz reported that he makes it clear that he is a coach, not a writer-for-hire. What makes this scam so discouraging is that these youth came from families of wealth and privilege. They already had a competitive edge to a bright future over millions of other college hopeful students in across the country simply by being born into a family with money. Cheating their way to the top diminishes the hard work that so many other talented and gifted students possess.
“There can be no separate college admission system for the wealthy, and I’ll add, there will not be a separate criminal justice system, either.” – Andrew Lelling, U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts
As the charges and more details of this educational fraud continue to unfold over the next couple of days, and coming weeks, the largest challenge we face as a nation is what the educational system will do to determine that all of America’s students receive a fair chance at a prosperous education, regardless of their social or economic standing.