Put your money where your mouth is: College Scandals rock the US


Parker Teters, Reporter

For many high school seniors, the most terrifying aspect of college is the highly competitive uphill battle of actually applying to the college in hopes they admit you. However, this battle might not be quite so competitive, and not so uphill for the family of the extremely wealthy.

Back in March whilst investigating a financial fraud case, Morrie Tobin, the prime suspect for the case, told investigators about William Singer, the mastermind behind the entire scandal. The singer was allegedly bribing multiple SAT and ACT test administrators to help students get higher SAT or ACT scores, athletic coaches, and sometimes even creating false athletic histories to help the bribed coaches admit the students, going so far as to photoshop faces of students onto other athletes.

Backed by a charity, the scheme was able to discreetly launder payments to Singer for personal use as well as bribing administrators, coaches, and anyone else involved. The Key Worldwide Charity, the fake charity involved would take payments ranging anywhere from $200,000 to $6.5 million from the parents or family of the contracted students and turn the money around to pay the involved parties such as the psychologists used to help falsely diagnose the students with mental disorders to allow them to take the SAT/ACT in a separate room where someone else would then fill out the test for them or alternatively, through directly bribing test administrators, have them correct the answers after taking the test.

These disturbingly effective tactics all formed to create what is the largest college acception scandal to date with more than 50 individuals getting charged with crimes such as mail fraud. But perhaps more disturbing than the effectiveness of the scandal is the impact that its had on the students not involved. “I can’t imagine being able to work so hard on school if there’s a chance that all that work turns out to be worthless,” said Riley Manel, a Sophomore at OHS. So have the knowledge that the tens or even hundreds of hours put into studying for the SAT or ACT, extracurricular activities, struggling to maintain a high GPA and filling out college applications can amount to nothing just because a family has more money than yours is not only crushing, but can lead to a resentment of the entire education system just because of a small number of terrible cases. Matt Lowne, a junior at OHS feels this especially, saying “My schoolwork is my job for me. I pour all my time and energy into my work and if it were to amount to nothing, that would break me”. So to know that work can be worthless, how can students continue to work hard and excel in their fields?

However, with 19.9 million students attending college in the U.S. alone in 2018, the few dozen students wrapped up in the scandal seems quite minuscule even if they and their parents’ actions were especially deplorable. “It doesn’t take someone with a strong moral compass to see it’s wrong but when you look, the total number of students taking place was actually really low,” said Seth Harper, a Senior at OHS. So while the actions of these students are undeniably terrible, the impact remains relatively small but has the sizeable potential to create a message to schools and test administrations and a demand for better in the future.