College admission scams: Wealthy parents bankrolling the way for their children

Buying the American dream for someone – or facilitating it, can get you in trouble. With federal charges already issued, we are finding out how tests were doctored and bribes were paid to ensure the entrance kids into some of the best universities in the U.S.

Almost three dozen parents were charged by federal officials in what is believed to be a multimillion dollar scheme to ensure that their children were accepted by managing to get fabricated academic and athletic credentials for them.

The list of those indicted includes college coaches, administrators and representatives from some of the most select colleges across the country. Worryingly, it also includes the Director of College Entrance Exam Preparation at IMG Academy, where some of the most prominent football players have enrolled before entering college.

According to the U.S. DA of Massachusetts, Andrew Lelling, who gave a press conference this past Tuesday, the list of parents includes CEOs from private and public companies, prominent securities and real estate investors, two actresses, a fashion designer and the co-chairman of a global firm.

Prosecutors confirmed that a third party was often used to take SAT and ACT tests for the children to boost their scores.  In other cases athletic coaches were bribed. There were even incidents were a third party corrected the answers to the exams taken by the children before handing them in, with the administrators sending the tests by courier. In some of cases the amounts that exchanged hands varied between $250,000 and $ 450,000.

This corruption and manipulation of the system might have huge implications, especially for those IMG athletes, who may have done nothing wrong, but are surely going to face increased scrutiny right now.

These types of situation are not new and there have been cases previously in major college athletics, but it is the first time that non-athletes are involved. This will surely cause the government to review the system of standardized testing in the NCAA eligibility process, especially as the list of those charged includes nine current and former Division 1 coaches, a senior associate athletic director and a senior woman administrator at USC.

USC gives substantial consideration to athletics abilities, and its designated sub-committee frequently admits applicants whose test scores are below those of other USC applicants. Universities often set aside a certain amount of slots so that their coaches can recruit athletes with grades and standardized test scores below those of non-recruited athletes.

According to the US state justice department: One of the accused, Mark Singer, founder of a college admissions counseling business, committed two types of fraud, one was cheating with the entrance exams, while the other was to bribe Division 1 coaches to present fake athletic credentials. Some of the applicants and their parents took advantage of both.

By funneling money through his Key Worldwide Foundation, Singer then used it for the bribery, and parents ensured a place in the universities for their children.

The universities have acted promptly and have started identifying those involved and some are reviewing their admissions process.

If wealthy parents have the ability to so easily manipulate the system, getting their academically average and average academic children into universities, what are the implications for the thousands of above average children trying to get an education at a good college?

By being so selfish, they are not acting in the best interests of their offspring and are often denying a rightful place in a university to those more capable.