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Former Assistant District Attorney
Former Assistant U.S. Attorney

How has the college admissions scandal affected the students?

On Behalf of | Mar 10, 2020 | Federal Crimes

There are 51 parents charged in the so-called “Varsity Blues” scandal in which they allegedly paid bribes to alter their children’s scores on entrance exams or get them admitted as student-athletes in sports they do not play. Fifteen of the parents expect to stand trial after pleading not guilty, while 20 have chosen to plead guilty. Some have already received prison sentences ranging from two weeks to nine months. One received a sentence of probation for one year. 

None of the children who allegedly benefitted from their parents’ efforts have faced any criminal charges. Most were apparently unaware of any alleged efforts to cheat and expressed feelings of sorrow and anger when they did find out. Nevertheless, the New York Times reports that the students have experienced other consequences despite no active involvement in the alleged scandal. 

Changes in attitude 

Some of the children were still high school students when news of the scandal broke. Some report that other students and teachers shunned them because of the alleged actions of their parents. A private school in California prevented two sisters from participating in school activities, including the prom and graduation, when their mother pleaded guilty to counts of conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud. The younger sister is now a student at a public school. 

Responses from schools 

Some students have seen their acceptance to certain colleges revoked or had to involuntarily withdraw their applications. In some cases, colleges/universities expelled students who had already been attending class on the basis of their parents’ alleged involvement in the scandal. 

However, in other cases schools have conducted investigations of the students and found that they committed no wrongdoing, allowing them to stay. In one particular instance, one of the student’s parents allegedly arranged for a consultant to inflate his ACT score. Fortunately, however, the student had taken a previous ACT exam, and the university allowed him to enroll on the basis of those authentic results.