College admissions scandal implicating Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin reveals elite culture of corruption
University presidents, whose job performance is often tied to alumni donations, can make millions. Meanwhile, regular, unconnected, hard-working students are still being shut out of opportunities through no fault of their own.
Perhaps the clearest explanation of this problem comes from the scam’s alleged ringleader William Rick Singer, who was allegedly paid $25 million to help more than 750 families gain unfair access. As reported in federal court documents, Singer described the three doors through which students can enter elite colleges: the “front door” of merit; the “back door” of donating to the institution and a “side door,” which Singer opened through bribes to athletic coaches and standardized testing officials.
The side door, he said, was a relative bargain compared to the back door. The alleged bribes were often in the $500,000 range, compared with institutional donations, which could cost “ten times as much” to secure admissions.