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What Will Happen to the Students in the College Admissions Cheating Scandal?

A dozen of the people charged in the massive nationwide fraud are set to appear in court today, but what about the students who benefited from the bribes and fake test scores?
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  • Today, a dozen people accused of crimes related to the massive college admissions cheating scandal that unfolded earlier this month will make their first appearance in federal court in Boston, which is where prosecutors and the FBI spearheaded the investigation.
  • No students were charged by prosecutors, but if they were implicated in the bribery and cheating scam, they could nonetheless face serious consequences, even if they knew nothing about it.

    Today, when the first round of defendants accused of participating a nationwide college admissions scam appears in court, among their ranks will be six athletic coaches, two entrance-exam test administrators, and two people who worked with William "Rick" Singer, the alleged mastermind of the scheme. A further 23 defendants are scheduled to appear next Friday.


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    William "Rick" Singer leaves the courthouse in Boston earlier this month. As part of the nationwide college admissions scam, Singer plead guilty to charges included racketeering, conspiracy, and more.

    No students were arrested when prosecutors unveiled charges earlier this month against 50 people in a nationwide college admissions scheme that the government dubbed operation “Varsity Blues,” but charging documents released by the US Department of Justice provided enough information to easily identify most of the kids who were allegedly admitted to universities thanks to bribes their wealthy parents paid to either cheat on the SAT and ACT college admissions tests, falsely portray the children as stellar athletes, or both.

    While they may not face charges, those students are not exactly in the clear. Many of those students could be kicked out of school regardless of whether they knew about the scheme.

    “When you fill out an application, you assert the information is accurate and true,” Jim Jump, past president of the National Association for College Admission Counseling, told Town & Country. “If you are caught falsifying that, that would put your admission in jeopardy.”

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    For instance, on the University of Texas at Austin’s application, the student has to sign off next to a sign that reads, “I certify that the information I have provided is complete and correct, and I understand that the submission of false information is grounds for rejection of my application, withdrawal of any offer of acceptance, cancellation of enrollment and/or appropriate disciplinary action.”

    UT-Austin and UCLA both warned that any student they discover to have submitted bogus information will face disciplinary action.

    Most of the schools said they would not comment on specific students connected to the scheme, because the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act prohibits colleges from sharing information from education records.

    The University of Southern California stated that it placed a hold on anyone already identified as connected to Singer, and promised to revoke admission or expel anyone else it finds was part of the scheme. The daughters of actress Lori Loughlin, Olivia and Isabella, are reportedly planning to drop out of USC. Stanford University said it is probing how many students on its campus may have connections to Singer.

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    A Georgetown University spokesperson offered a similar statement to Town & Country: “We are reviewing the details of the indictment, examining our records, and will be taking appropriate action.”


    The Georgetown University campus

    Wake Forest University was the one exception of the schools contacted by Town & Country. The Wake Forest women’s volleyball coach is accused of taking a payment to get the daughter of one of Singer’s clients off the waitlist by naming her as a recruited athlete, but few details, in that case, have been released, other than a charge that Singer is the one who paid the coach. Wake Forest confirmed to Town & Country that the student is still enrolled, and said: “We do not plan to take any action against her when there is no evidence she had any knowledge of the alleged financial transaction.”

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    Both UT-Austin and Wake Forest are also reviewing their admissions processes for athletes.

    *This article originally appeared on Townandcountrymag.com

    *Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors

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