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Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman are two high-profile actresses who were charged by the Department of Justice as part of a bribery ring worth millions of dollars — a scam that got children from wealthy families into elite colleges like Yale, Georgetown and the University of Southern California.
The government said the company’s founder, William Singer, helped students cheat on standardized tests, and paid roughly $25 million in bribes to college athletic coaches so that kids could enter college with fake athletic credentials. In some instances, the students didn’t even play the sport. To mask the fraud, some students’ faces were actually Photoshopped onto another athlete’s body.
The scandal has cast new light on the mysterious world of elite college admissions.
Some pointed to the SAT/ACT as indicators that the system already privileges upper-income families — indeed, the SAT was originally designed by a “eugenics-blinded bigot,” according to The Daily Beast, although they note that this man, Dr. Carl Brigham, later repented.
And others wondered where the apparent obsession with elite colleges comes from — when there’s such a diversity of places to get a good education in the United States (and hey, not all of them involve getting a four-year degree).
We speak with experts and students about what a degree from an elite university means and what we can learn from this case.
Produced by Avery J.C. Kleinman.
- Alexandra Robbins Author, "The Overachievers: The Secret Lives of Driven Kids" "Fraternity: An Inside Look at a Year of College Boys Becoming Men"; @AlexndraRobbins
- Eric Hoover Senior Writer, The Chronicle of Higher Education; @erichoov
- Calvin Carmichael Student, University of Southern California
- Jonathan Collins Student; DuVal High School, Prince George's County, Maryland
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