USC is one of several universities named in a class-action suit.

Class-action suit brought against universities involved in admissions fraud case

March 14, 2019
Students say the alleged fraud denied them a fair admissions process.

Two college students have filed a class-action suit in California against several universities and entities allegedly involved in the massive college admissions scandal that led to the arrest of 50 people earlier this week.

The Courthouse News Service reports that two Stanford University students contend in the lawsuit that qualified students paid college admission fees without realizing that “unqualified students were slipping in through the back door of the admissions process by committing fraud, bribery, cheating, and dishonesty.”

Named as defendants in the suit: Stanford University, the University of Southern California, UCLA, the University of San Diego, the University of Texas at Austin, Wake Forest University, Yale University and Georgetown University.

Federal prosecutors filed charges Tuesday in a nationwide college admissions bribery scheme allegedly orchestrated by Rick Singer and the Edge College & Career Network. He is charged with having students fake learning disabilities to get more time to take the SAT and ACT college-entrance exams and with bribing college coaches to designate the students as athletes to gain admission to schools.

Plaintiff Erica Olsen asserts in the lawsuit that she had “stellar” standardized test scores and athletic talent. She applied to Yale and paid an application fee of about $80, only to be rejected by the university.

“Had she known that the system at Yale University was warped and rigged by fraud, she would not have spent the money to apply to the school,” the lawsuit states. “She also did not receive what she paid for—a fair admissions consideration process.”

Olsen also contends that because Stanford is linked to the scandal, her degree might not go as far.

“Her degree is now not worth as much as it was before, because prospective employers may now question whether she was admitted to the university on her own merits, versus having parents who were willing to bribe school officials,” the lawsuit states.

The students argue that the schools failed to properly oversee their admissions process and ensure that it was fair to all students.

In addition to the seven universities named as defendants, the suit also names Rick Singer and his associated companies. The suit says that the alleged bribery activities cost students application fees.

“Students do not have unlimited funds to pay for application fees,” the suit maintains. “They must pick and choose which university or universities to apply to based upon their available funding, the cost of the application fee, and the likelihood that they will be accepted. Each of these students had a right to know that their application was going to be part of a review process corrupted by rampant fraud and back-door bribery.”   

The lawsuit defines the class members as anyone who applied to the scandal-linked universities between 2012 and 2018. 

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