As a parent, you help your high school student study for the SATs. Maybe you even sign them up for a test prep class, or to work with a tutor. You encourage them to get good grades, be involved in extracurricular activities, and excel in sports. Then they apply to college and you cross your fingers and wait, right?
Evidently not. Yesterday, the FBI arrested nearly 50 people who have been perpetuating a complex multimillion dollar scheme to buy places for their kids in some of America’s most prestigious colleges.
This has been going for for more than 7 years, during which time nearly $25 million was paid to the “college counselor,” who set this up. The list of those accused includes venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, coaches, college athletic directors, and Hollywood celebrities. The parents were willing to spend as much as $6.5 million to get their kids into the right college; the coaches and athletic directors were willing to accept bribes to look the other way when fake applications were submitted.
Rich families have been buying their way into college for generations–endowing chairs and donating money for buildings. But this new wrinkle involves cheating, bribery, and fraud to an extreme degree.
Every college spot that was fraudulently purchased prevented a legitimately qualified student from attending that college.
Did these parents really think what they were doing was acceptable? Or did they think they would never get caught? What lessons are they teaching their children: don’t bother working hard, you can buy what you want with a bribe?
Now instead of using their wealth to buy Junior’s admittance to Yale or Stanford or USC, these parents will be handing over that money to defense lawyers. If they thought buying college admissions was expensive, just wait till they see how much this scandal will cost in terms of legal fees, reputation, and maybe even their freedom.
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