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College Admissions Scandal 2019: Everything We Know

The college admissions bribery scandal that shook the country Tuesday morning has sent tremors everywhere, from test prep centers, standardized testing administrators, college athletics coaches, Hollywood, Silicon Valley, the Ivy League, college admission offices and, of course, social media.

Since the bombshell report on widespread bribery and alleged cheating surfaced, many new reports and allegations have come to light. Here’s what we know so far: through reports and by the numbers.

What Is a Side Door?

If a student can’t get into a university through entrance requirements, there are often backdoor ways, thanks to rich parents. These typically involve large donations to the universities and huge contributions for buildings. A side door was allegedly being done by William Singer, the founder of the Edge College & Career Network, also known as “the Key.” It’s a college prep business that has reportedly funneled money to SAT/ACT test takers and people who have influence on admissions standards for prestigious universities. Singer is the first name listed in the lawsuit.

According to The New York Times, Singer paid more than $25 million through his Key Foundation in bribes to administrators over the past eight years to guarantee admission to students.

“If I can make the comparison, there is a front door of getting in where a student just does it on their own, and then there’s a backdoor where people go to institutional advancement and make large donations, but they’re not guaranteed in,” Singer said in The New York Times report. “And then I created a side door that guaranteed families to get in. So that was what made it very attractive to so many families...I created a guarantee.”

The Times went on to say these coaches had been terminated or placed on leave for their alleged monetary gains from shady admissions policies.

“Stanford said Tuesday that [sailing coach John Vandemoer] had been fired,” The Times report read. “The University of Texas at Austin released a statement Tuesday saying that its men’s tennis coach, Michael Center, has been placed on leave. And at U.S.C., Donna Heinel, a top athletic director, and Jovan Vavic, the men’s and women’s water polo coach, were terminated. Ms. Heinel received more than $1.3 million in bribes and Mr. Vavic about $250,000 according to federal prosecutors.”

On the other coast, the San Jose Mercury News in California disclosed a plethora of Bay Area residents who’ve been pinpointed for allegedly making bribes to get their children into universities.

These include alleged bribes to get their kids into the University of Southern California (USC) women’s volleyball program, another to the water polo team, a fake ACT score that gave one student a 34 out of a possible 36, fabricating tennis rankings to get one student into Georgetown, fake test proctors, former NFL spouses drawing test ruses and a whole litany of other allegations.

Then there were the two Hollywood actresses—Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin—who were both named in the lawsuit. Huffman was arrested and released, with her attorney saying “she is not the kind of person who is going to become an international fugitive over this matter,” according to Fox News.

Loughlin's daughter, Olivia Jade, attends USC and is known as a YouTube star.

By the Numbers

50: People charged or indicted by federal prosecutors. These included college coaches allegedly paid by bribes, standardized college testing administrators who were paid and parents who allegedly paid bribes for their children.

6: Universities where athletic coaches allegedly took bribes. They are Georgetown, Stanford, Texas, USC, Wake Forest and Yale.

$6.5 million: Amount allegedly spent in bribes from potential college parents for fake ACT/SAT scores, fabricated college entrance exams and money to secure athletics spots at universities.

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