Admissions Fraud the Hottest Scandal in the Media

Ryan Calvert

Among many other great scandals of the decade, the most recent might take the cake. Many news outlets have tried to give a general scope of this issue and seem to place blame on both parents, kids, and many institutes of higher learning (UCLA, Stanford and Yale to name a few). This has sparked outrage across the country as it shows the rich just keep taking advantage of the system. This blame, however widespread, has been misplaced and misinterpreted by many who have heard the tale. In this article I am aiming to shed a light on details that have been overlooked and objectively state facts for readers to form their own opinions. 

Beginning in 2011 an agent from the Federal Bureau of Investigation specializing in economic crimes, received an anonymous tip from a worker at The Key Worldwide Foundation, a non-profit made to look like a charity. This is where the entire investigation began. The foundation was also linked to another company, The Edge College and Career Network LLC, these two companies together, were responsible for persuading, endorsing and capitalizing on all the fraudulent activities that took place over the following 7 years. 

Throughout the official complaint written by the federal agent, he lists cooperating witnesses quotes that came from wiretaps and interrogations. From this vast array of information the main plan can be summarized as follows: Cooperating Witness 1 (CW1) was a worker for both the non-profit and The Edge, his responsibilities were to seek out and persuade high income families to 1) get their children tested for ADHD or ADD in order to get extended time on the ACT (this was usually administered by a certified doctor on The Edge’s payroll). 2) Once the extended time was granted, CW1 advised parents to reach out to the school and tell them they had an extenuating circumstance (wedding, funeral, bar-mitzvah) during the weekend of the test and needed to take it at a location in southern California or Florida. 3) After the school granted the requested, the student was sent to one of two test centers that CW1 “controlled”. By paying test proctors to either correct or fully take the ACT in place of the student before submitting it, CW1 was able to fully guarantee any score the parents requested. 4) Once the score came back the students were ecstatic to see that they had done so well (completely unaware their parents and proctor had tampered) and were ready to apply to their dream school. 5) From this point Cooperating witness 2 (CW2) came into play. As a (former) soccer coach at Yale CW2 had the ability to label undergrad applicants as “desirable student athletes” that the school would take over non-athlete students. CW2 received large payments from CW1 to label his clients as those desirable candidates even though in most cases these kids had never played any sort of sports before. 6) After the application had been accepted the students were very happy and the parents knew their child would be set up for success in the future. A lot of money was exchanged between the parties to produce this very fraudulent result but their is not much blame to be passed around. The proctors and coaches that participated in this scheme were extremely unethical and clearly only cared about the money, the parents usually didn’t like the plan initially but were heavily persuaded over many long conversations with CW1 and many like him. The students deserve the least amount of blame because they never chose to participate and as a result were very angry with their parents when the news finally came out. The 204 page federal complaint containing all the conversations as well as a list of those indicted can be found here: