The admissions process at Ivy League universities has remained pretty sketchy for quite some time. Race, relation to alumni, and economic status appear to play a large role in an individual student's admittance. In fact, according to research from a 2011 study, children of alumni had a 3.13 times more likely chance to receive admission when compared to non-legacies.
On March 12th, 2019, the United States Department of Justice published eight documents charging 50 individuals with bribing Ivy League universities in order to admit privileged, possibly unqualified children. Among the accused are 33 parents as well as coaches of Olympic sports at the universities. Two of these individuals are TV stars Felicity Hoffman ("American Crime"...haha, how ironic!) and Lori Loughlin ("Summerland"). Apparently, the crimes committed include racketeering (fraudulent business dealings), mail fraud, alteration of examination scores, and lying about participation in athletic sports. Charges faced by the actresses could be up to five years behind bars if plea deals are excluded.
Some of the schools affected by this conspiracy include Yale University, Stanford University, and Georgetown University. Prosecutors have said that they have not charged any students, instead saying that the parents were the scheme's principal conductors. FBI Special Agent Joseph Bonavolonta has stated that parents have paid from $200,000 to $6.5 million in order for their children to obtain acceptance, some under the facade of charitable donations. According to Andrew Lelling, Boston's attorney, this may be the largest ever college admissions scandal prosecuted by the United States Department of Justice.
Unfortunately, I doubt that much will come out of this. I assume that the defendants will be subjected to hefty fines and damage in reputation, but not much else. I'm also very skeptical about the Ivies changing their admissions processes in the near future in light of this scandal. It seems that hard work will never really be enough for students who are pushed against wealthy competitors or legacy children. Sure, there are stories of kids getting into their dream schools through nothing but sheer determination, but many are turned away for unfair reasons. After all, in 2017, one-third of Harvard's incoming class were legacies. The advantage isn't fair, especially to those who are more qualified but lack the substantial boost in acceptance that being related to an alumnus provides.