By now, everyone has heard about the Rick Singer college scam, where a man made millions of dollars by defrauding standardized testing companies and bribing elite university's athletic coaches. You will have heard of the wealthy people who paid to have their kids get into high-level schools, like Felicity Huffman of Desperate Housewives and more notably, everyone's favorite TV aunt.
I can understand why Loughlin would want to do everything in her power to help her children get a top-notch education at USC. Who doesn't hope for the best for their kids, and who wouldn't be willing to help their kids by any means necessary (even if illegal)? Obviously, what was done was illegal and Loughlin deserves to go to prison for her actions. I just thought I understood the motive behind everything. But when I looked up Loughlin's daughter Olivia Jade, that sentiment immediately changed.
Olivia Jade reminds me of what all of the teens in Gossip Girl would be like if they actually existed. She is spoiled, entitled, and has had everything handed to her on a silver platter. Her dream is to be a full-time YouTuber. She showed up late to her first year at college because she was vacationing in Fiji. Her parents paid for her to be able to design her own freaking eyeshadow palette! All of this wouldn't really matter to me if she actually wanted to go to college, but here's a direct quote of hers that leaves me sick to my stomach:
"I don't know how much of school I'm gonna attend, but I'm gonna go in and talk to my deans and everyone and hope that I can try and balance it all. I do want the experience of like game days, partying. I don't really care about school, as you guys all know."
So, a person who clearly has no educational aspirations was handed a spot at the University of Southern California because her mom had the means to buy it for her. What should be done to stop this? The answers are donation blind acceptance policies, stricter legislation and making an example out of everyone who used Singer's "resources" to help their child.
While paying off Singer to help improve test scores doesn't fall under donations, contributing significant amounts of money to a school can definitely help a person get in. Universities like people whose parents are able to pay for new equipment or amenities, so it makes sense that admissions committees do take donations into account. What admission committee is going to deny someone who has a library donated under their name? Many schools have adopted need-blind financial aid policies for those who cannot afford full tuition, so why are there no donation blind schools? There's a fine line between a charitable donation and bribing a university, so it would be best if all donations became anonymous and admissions committees had no ideas about the financial situations of potential students. This would give a leg up to students of lesser means who would not be able to donate obscene amounts to get their applications looked at more kindly.
Stricter legislation and making an example out of Singer, Loughlin, and Huffman may not stop everyone from hacking the system, but it's a start. It would be important for the College Board and the US Government to check for any loopholes that could potentially make Singer's actions legal, and reiterate with explicit rules saying everything that was done in this case was a result of fraud. By humiliating everyone involved in this case, it could deter others from committing similar crimes.
The most important part of all of this is that anybody should be able to go to whatever college they want IF they have the qualifications and are motivated. As a society, we need to start better focusing on those who do not have the means to afford college, but are qualified and want to go, instead of perpetuating this cycle of the wealthy buying their way into top universities and taking spots away from those who deserve them.