Every parent wants the best for their children. They want them to get the best education and get into the best schools. However, getting into a prestigious college is a competition: competition among the students and the parents.
Most of the prestigious colleges in the US offer only limited seats to the students. Thus, getting into one is a matter of pride and social status not only for the student but even for the parents. This has resulted in parent’s obsession to admit their children into one of these reputed institutions by hook or by crook. Therefore, the 2019 college admission scandal is the outcome of this obsession.
In this article, we’ll take a look at the 2019 college admission bribery scandal. Also, let’s discuss how education institutions can avoid such incidents in the future using advanced technology.
About the Admission Scandal
In 2019, William Rick Singer masterminded a scandal scheme to influence students to get admission to some top universities in America. Singer helped his clients’ children make illegal arrangements for cheating in SAT and ACT college admissions tests. He also fabricated their sports credentials to help them get admission into elite institutions.
After a thorough investigation, it is found that many parents, coaches, and administrators were involved in the admission bribery scandal. The breakdown of this criminal scam was code named as the ‘Operation Varsity Blues.’
In this regard, a total of 53 members were charged guilty for involving in the multi-million dollar scam. Also, more than thirty parents were charged with paying a considerable sum of money to Singer through a charitable organization.
The Techniques of fraudulent admission
Singer carefully plotted the whole scam using various techniques to gain fraudulent admissions for his client’s children.
- Cheating in the entrance exam
Singer was able to help the students get admission to reputed colleges by assisting them in cheating in the college entrance test. He worked with some psychologists so that the clients’ children can have false learning disability certificates at hand. This falsified disability report enables the children to have extra time during the test.
Besides, Singer also arranged with his clients to conduct the test in those centers under his complete control. Such arrangement allows proctors to boost the test result or enables others to take the test on the students’ behalf. Thus, in many cases, the students were ignorant about the fraudulent admission. However, in some cases, the students were also directly involved in the scam.
- Fabricating the students’ sports credentials
Another fraudulent technique Singer employed is the fabrication of sports credentials with the help of the college coaches and staff. Most of the colleges in America have specific recruit for athletics students. Hence, they took this opportunity by fabricating the students’ profiles and labeling them as athletic recruits. Moreover, they use image editing apps such as Photoshop to change the student’s profile or create a fake profile.
As a result, many coaches and athletic staff of those reputed colleges were charged with taking bribes and racketeering conspiracy. All of them were allegedly fired from their position in the college, and many of them pleaded guilty.
- Using charity organization for money laundering
Key Worldwide Foundation was a nonprofit charitable organization that Singer owned. All the illegal payments were made to this organization to conceal money laundering as it was granted the 503 (c) (3) statuses. Thus, this allows him to avoid income tax and enables the parents to donate to this charity organization.
Singer also owned another service called The Edge College and Career Network operated from his home. Thus, in the name of such organizations, the source, and payments of bribery money were concealed.
How to avoid such fraudulent activity in the future?
Here are some of the advanced technologies that educational institutions can incorporate to avoid any fraudulent activity.
The use of biometrics such as voice & facial recognition, eye tracking, and fingerprints can prevent cheating and fraudulent activity.
- Artificial Intelligence
The use of AI in schools and colleges in key activities, including college entrance exams and the admission process, can decrease the chance of fraud. Oddly enough we can look towards the online dating space to see the success of AI being used to detect and prevent fraudulent activity. AI solutions were applied after the famed Ashley Madison hack and local milf dating sites have been using the same methods to detect fake accounts and prevent data breaches.
- Virtual Reality Technology
Introducing technologies like virtual reality and cloud computing in education can help students learn from home. Thus, it will prevent issues like limited seats in prestigious colleges, admission competition, the hassle of carrying tons of books, etc.