HIGHER EDUCATION SELLS OUT TO HOLLYWOOD
In perhaps one of the most jaw-dropping events to kick off 2019, millions of Americans were left stunned when, on March 12, it was reported that actresses Felicity Huffman, who portrayed Lynette Scavo on “Desperate Housewives” and Lori Loughlin, known to many as Aunt Becky on the long-running ABC comedy “Full House” were just two of 50 individuals involved in a college bribery admissions scandal that is still sweeping the entire surprised country.
According to Fox News, Loughlin, who was released on a one million dollar bond, is reportedly grappling with the concept of facing prison time, while Huffman’s honorable speech on April 8 seem to display honesty and responsibility for her $15,000 payout to admissions consultant William Singer, who helped increase her daughter’s SAT score. Huffman may fare better in the long haul than Loughlin, who, ever the actress, even signed autographs for fans outside the courthouse on April 3, 2019. As of April 15, Loughlin and her husband have pled not guilty.
As reported by thecut.com, Huffman and 12 other parents pled guilty to conspiracy to commit mail and honest services fraud, their so-called admissions — pun intended — resulted in several of their original charges removed. CNN stated that 12 to 18 months is more than likely a plausible sentence.
Huffman’s lawyers are looking at having her sentences even further reduced. Loughlin and her equally-involved husband, Target designer Mossimo Giannulli, pled not guilty on April 15th, for the alleged $500,000 to get their daughters into the University of Southern California as recruits under false pretenses; one being a doctored photo of daughter Olivia on a rowing team. Fox News reported on April 3 that Loughlin and Giannulli could face up to 40 years total in prison; 20 years maximum for each of the charges.
This scandal has put a whole new spin on the higher educational system. In a survey taken from 2014-15, bigfuture.collegeboard.org reported two-thirds of full-time students were paying for college with some form of aid or grants; 57 percent of financial aid is being awarded to undergraduates in the form of grants, while 34 percent were federal loans.
Despite the odds against a collective group of student hopefuls, only a select few shall be so lucky to have their academic strives rewarded. At least, unlike the 50 persons involved in trying to buy their way, it’s too bad those that truly do strive for honesty cannot claim morale as an added entry prerequisite.
According to Mark Kantrowitz, publisher of FastWeb and FinAid, both sites which focus on helping students find scholarships and grants, statistics show fewer than 20,000 students a year receive a completely free ride to college: Out of the full-time students who enrolled in four-year colleges, only three percent were given enough grants and scholarships to pay for the full cost of college.
So why then should a man like 36-year-old Mark Riddell aspire to be the now test-taking guru that he is now known as? Simple — money talks. But does it listen? Apparently, if it does, it fell on deaf ears. For students working year-round in hope of a successful pay-off for their efforts, it looks as though payouts, or rather payoffs, are the only successful achievements being made. An underground sewer flow of deception, over-privileged and self-righteous people who have seemed to forgotten how hard success was to achieve. Then again, in any form of business, there is always, it seems, some form of a casting couch.
Hollywood has now it seems become the new pot of gold for so many. Celebrities are idolized more than ever, even swaying votes based on their political endorsements of running candidates and laws alike. And it looks as though in our educational system, as well.
But with greed comes public scrutiny when those financially affluent persons proved their attitude of superiority is perhaps their greatest pitfall.