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Admissions scandal rocks higher education

No Duke administrators or coaches have been implicated or charged in the investigation

<p>Chronicle File Photo</p>

Chronicle File Photo

Federal prosecutors charged 50 people last week in the largest college admissions scandal ever prosecuted, alleging parents bought their children admission to top universities through illegal methods. 

The parents allegedly forked over $25 million to gain their children entrance to schools that included Yale, Stanford, Wake Forest and Boston University—which received fraudulent applications but did not have complicit coaches or officials—among others. 

College coaches were also ensnared in the charges for being accomplices in suggesting these applicants were "top athletes," but some did not even play the sport they were allegedly “recruited” for. Among the parents charged include actress Felicity Huffman, who starred in ABC’s “Desperate Housewives,” and actress Lori Loughlin—best known for her role in ABC's “Full House.” 

Duke has no coaches or administrators named or implicated in the charges. When asked if the admissions office was taking any action in the scandal's wake, Christoph Guttentag, dean of undergraduate admissions, wrote in an email that the office would continue to review its process.

“We review our admissions process regularly as the admissions landscape changes in various ways, and we’ll continue to do that,” he wrote. “Beyond that I’m afraid I have no comment.”

Prosecutors who filed charges following an investigation dubbed "Operation Varsity Blues," allege that parents paid up to $75,000 per entrance exam test, bribing exam administrators to assist them in cheating on the exams—like the SAT and ACT. 

One student’s parents allegedly paid $50,000 so that he could be “falsely deemed to have a learning disability so he could take his standardized test with a complicit proctor who would make sure he got the right score.”

“The real victims in this case are the hardworking students who did everything they could to set themselves up for success in the college admissions process but ended up being shut out because far less qualified students and their families simply bought their way in,” said Andrew Lelling, the United States attorney for the District of Massachusetts in a press conference. 

Bre Bradham contributed reporting. 

Editor's note: This story was updated to clarify that no Boston University administrators or coaches have been charged in the scandal.


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