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- The college admissions scandal that broke in March 2019 is hardly the first of its kind.
- There’s a long history of lying, cheating, and greasing palms to get into a top school.
- For example, Harvard reportedly has a list of legacy students who may be less likely to need financial aid.
When a college-admissions scandal breaks, it typically shocks students, parents, and educators. But it happens more often than you might think.
Sometimes parents make donations to elite schools, presumably so their kids will have a better shot at admittance. Other times schools themselves show favor to the children of alumni, or of otherwise wealthy and powerful figures.
Below, we’ve listed five of the most salacious college-admissions scandals from recent memory.
Sony’s former CEO made a $1 million donation to Brown University before his daughter was admitted
Michael Lynton, chairman of Snap and formerly CEO of Sony Entertainment, reportedly donated to Brown University so his daughter, Maisie, would have a better chance of getting in.
Correspondences between Lynton and Brown administrators were uncovered in the 2015 hack of Sony email servers. They discussed a payment plan for making a gift. Lynton ultimately made a $1 million donation, and Maisie was accepted into Brown’s class of 2019.
Harvard University was accused of favoring the children of alumni in admissions
Among Harvard students in the classes of 2014 to 2019, about 50 to 60 students each year were admitted off the "Z-list," according to the New York Times, meaning they had to defer their enrollment for one year. But plaintiffs in a lawsuit against Harvard say many of these students are legacies, meaning their parents attended Harvard, and might not otherwise make the cut.
A 2010 article published in the Harvard Crimson said that 18 of 28 Z-listers interviewed had parents who attended Harvard, and that 24 received no financial aid from the college. (The Crimson reported that about 70% of Harvard’s student body received financial aid.)
Harvard’s admissions staff has said the Z-list is not a way to admit legacy students.
Charles Kushner pledged $2.5 million to Harvard before his son Jared was admitted
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In "The Price of Admission," Daniel Golden reported that Charles Kushner, the New Jersey real estate developer and Jared Kushner’s father, had pledged $2.5 million to Harvard University before Jared was admitted.
Golden spoke to administrators at Kushner’s high school, who remembered him as a mediocre student. However, a spokeswoman for Kushner Companies told Golden that there was no connection between Charles Kushner’s gift and Jared Kushner’s admission.
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