While the college admissions scandal that has recently shaken higher education is far from over, some, such as actress Lori Loughlin, who have pleaded guilty to their involvement have already finished serving their sentences.
Loughlin was released from prison on Monday after serving two months for bribing an admissions consultant over half a million dollars to get her two daughters into the University of Southern California.
Fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli, Loughlin’s husband, continues to serve his five-month sentence at a prison in Lompoc, near Santa Barbara, California. He is expected to be released on April 17 next year.
Nearly 60 individuals across the country have been charged in the case and to date there are still a dozen that are fighting the allegations. The sentences for parents that have pleaded guilty in the case range from several weeks to nine months.
Underground Admissions Scheme
Last year, authorities found that parents were funneling bribes through a fake charity that was run by an admissions consultant. These bribes were to get their children admission into top schools with fabricated athletics credentials and test scores.
In Loughlin and Giannulli’s case, the couple paid $500,000 for their daughters to gain admission into USC as crew recruits, despite neither girl being a rower. Their guilty plea came as a surprise to many, because their lawyers had pushed strongly for their innocence in the past year and claimed that the investigators had been fabricating evidence against them.
Transparency in Admissions for Higher Ed
Higher education struggles with regulating college admissions and ensuring that the process is fair and transparent. A similar case involved actress Felicity Huffman serving less than two weeks in prison last year for paying an admissions consultant $15,000 to have a proctor correct her daughter’s SAT answers.
Another case in admissions gone wrong involved four South Koreans being charged for doctoring student admission papers to top US universities last October. The students who were involved in the wrongful admissions have since been expelled.
Finally, the University of California also faced scrutiny for “inappropriately admitting” at least 64 students in the past six years as “favors to donors, family, and friends.”