Publication: Diablo Magazine
Millions of teens across the country are packing their bags, buying shower caddies, and preparing to embark on a new adventure: college. For most, this moment has been a long time coming.
While this fall’s incoming freshmen were checking the mail for acceptance letters, national headlines revealed that dozens of parents had collectively paid about $25 million to The Key, a private college-counseling company, to get their children into elite universities—including Stanford; University of Southern California; University of California, Los Angeles; and University of San Diego—based on fraudulent academic and athletic achievements. The Key’s CEO, William “Rick” Singer, author of a book about college admissions called Getting In, helped students cheat on the SAT and ACT, staged photos of the teens engaging in sports they did not actually play, and bribed exam administrators and university coaches. Singer’s scheme targeted the wealthiest families, from actors and fashion designers to 13 Bay Area parents (including executives, entrepreneurs, and an oncologist) from Marin County, Palo Alto, and a handful of other cities in the South Bay and on the Peninsula that rank among the region’s 15 most expensive zip codes.
“The scandal across the country really shook at the complete foundation of higher education, because ultimately there is a sense that you earn admissions to these institutions based on merit,” says State Assemblyman Phil Ting (D-San Francisco).
Ting introduced state bill AB697 to reform college admissions in the wake of the scandal.