USC: Students connected to cheating scheme will be denied admission

U.S. & World
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(CNN) All University of Southern California applicants who are connected to the alleged admissions cheating scheme will be denied admission, university spokesman Gary Polakovic said Wednesday.

A case-by-case review will be conducted for students who are already enrolled at USC and may be connected to the scheme. USC will “make informed, appropriate decisions once those reviews have been completed. Some of these individuals may have been minors at the time of their application process,” he said.

The announcement comes a day after the nationwide scandal exposed what federal prosecutors describe as a corrupt exchange of wealth, fame and influence for student admissions to the nation’s most elite universities.

Fifty people — from Hollywood stars and top industry CEOs to college coaches and standardized test administrators — stand accused of participating in a scheme to cheat on admissions tests and admit students to leading institutions as athletes regardless of their abilities, prosecutors revealed Tuesday in a federal indictment. The scandal is being called the largest college admissions scam ever prosecuted.

As the alleged culprits, including actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin and fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli, position their defenses, the fallout continues for players across this wide-ranging case, which spans six states and raises seminal questions about how level the postsecondary playing field really is.

Still hanging in the balance is the fate of the privileged scholars, at least some of whom may not have known about their parents’ alleged acts. It was no accident that none were immediately charged, US Attorney Andrew Lelling of Massachusetts said Tuesday.

“The prime movers of this fraud” were the parents and other defendants, Lelling said, though he noted some students may face charges down the road.

Meantime, officials at universities including Yale, Stanford and Georgetown must now examine criminal claims made against key staffers, some of whom already have part ways.

Perhaps most critically, they’ll also have to answer for whether qualified students were denied entry into their programs in lieu of the children of the rich and famous.

“For every student admitted through fraud,” Lelling said, “an honest, genuinely talented student was rejected.”

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