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Feds: Parents paid tens of thousands to game the admissions system

Original post made on Mar 12, 2019

The 204-page federal complaint filed by the United States Attorney’s Office on March 12 in the case of a nationwide college-admissions scam details the lengths to which wealthy parents of high school students were willing to go to get their children into elite universities.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, March 12, 2019, 7:41 PM

Comments (73)

Posted by Colburns represent PA perfectly
a resident of Juana Briones School
on Mar 12, 2019 at 7:46 pm

It's called lifting yourself up by your own bootstraps.

Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Mar 12, 2019 at 8:35 pm

Must be really expensive to get into Heaven if you don't otherwise qualify.

Posted by Seriously
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 12, 2019 at 8:36 pm

Their mistake was to bribe the coaches. Bunch of nouveau ruche. Just bribe the schools directly, as old money does. That’s perfectly legal, for some bizarre reason.

Posted by H. Xiang
a resident of Los Altos
on Mar 12, 2019 at 9:06 pm

Our children study hard and excel in school. Don't need to resort to such lowly measures.

Posted by MAGA
a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 12, 2019 at 9:10 pm

[Post removed.]

Posted by The Public Interest
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Mar 12, 2019 at 9:25 pm

Thank you to the IRS and to the investigators and law enforcement personnel for uncovering these cheating schemes. In some cases, it sounds like the students were well aware of what was going on.

Posted by Downfall
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Mar 12, 2019 at 9:29 pm

I doubt it will happen but would love to see these parents do some actual jail time for this. Their kids should be kicked out of the schools in fairness to the other students since they did not truly earn their place. I can't believe one of the kids had a 900 SAT before the cheating. With that sort of score they belong more likely at a community college vs an elite university. Roast 'em good!

Posted by wondering
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Mar 12, 2019 at 9:56 pm

Don't pile up on me, but I was wondering why this is a criminal issue at all? Should this not just be a civil issue. I mean was anything of value stolen? And who was it stolen from exactly? For example, if someone embellishes their resume and is hired based on the fraudulent resume, then will they be subject to criminal charges? This does not make sense to me at all. It is up to the colleges and the testing agencies to put policies in place to detect fraud. Why is the FBI wasting resources on this? Maybe a real lawyer can chime in with some free legal theories. The kids who got in still need to do the work to get through college.

Posted by Appalled
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Mar 12, 2019 at 10:52 pm

This is infuriating! What a role model they are for kids! More upsetting because I am a parent who supported his son with working hard and applied for al these schools the right way!
He is happy where he is but it pains me to think about the message he received about who gets ahead in life.

Posted by Mark Weiss
a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 12, 2019 at 11:05 pm

Mark Weiss is a registered user.

If we are using tax dollars to build and try these cases, we should be taxing the endowments.

McGlashen was my classmate and sometimes teammate for three years, at Fremont Hills and Terman. The family was profiled in the local paper, either here, Town Crier or PTT because they took a family sabbatical in Israel, then the father quit his tech job, to join staff of Beyond War. Bill jr transferred to Woodside Priory, then went to Princeton. His business partner is local, or a previous fund or firm. I bet a lot of readers know the McGlashens.
He’s innocent until proven guilty, can hire the best lawyers—I say “WITCH HUNT” and “ FAKE NEWS”. Maybe this is just to pave the way to taxation, quid pro quo.

Posted by Skeptical one
a resident of Woodland Ave. area (East Palo Alto)
on Mar 13, 2019 at 12:48 am

I find it hard to believe that a sailing coach at Stanford is able to accept hundreds of thousands of dollars in "donations" on his own. Anyone who does not think that Stanford uses ANY means necessary to bring in cash is welcome to call me about buying a bridge in Brooklyn. I am willing to bet a lot that the bad money was kicked upstairs to the Athletic Director, Dean, university president etc. immediately just like all the other "donations," grants, contracts, etc. that come in to the university.

Posted by FakeNews
a resident of Atherton
on Mar 13, 2019 at 12:59 am

[Post removed.]

Posted by dave bribemun
a resident of another community
on Mar 13, 2019 at 4:15 am

[Post removed.]

Posted by Localparent1234
a resident of Woodside
on Mar 13, 2019 at 4:45 am

In answer to the question, “what is the crime here.” Fraud (making a false representation) is a crime. In addition, many of the defendants are alleged to have committed tax fraud — they allegedly took a tax deduction for their “contribution” to Singer’s fake non-profit and affirmatively represented (falsely) to the IRS that they received nothing in return for the donation.

Posted by Money is the root of all evils!
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Mar 13, 2019 at 6:42 am

To the person whom commented negatively towards community colleges. Nothing is wrong with attending community colleges.

Furthermore, it’s probably best the alleged families noted in this fraud case might want to seek out mental health support services for the young adults whom the parent's names appears listed above. Can you imagine the embarrassment and shame money can’t erase from this investigation? I’m nodding my head parents condoning the next generation of young adults to cheat and lie [portion removed.]

Tupac noted, “ They have money for wars but can’t feed the poor”

Posted by Meanwhile
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Mar 13, 2019 at 6:44 am

@wondering...ditto to @localparent...AND, they have several of the parents on taped phone calls conspiring to commit the fraud (a crime all by itself)...if they've lied to the FBI when questioned, that's also a crime. But yes, the College Board and each of the universities can (and should) bring a civil suit.

I feel terrible for the students who didn't actually know (parents again on tape stating their child was not to find out)...I am finding the commentary about the college admissions meritocracy farce to be compelling. From donors/legacies/designated desirable income-based candidate preferential admissions scoring to test prep, buying 504/IEPs, resume padding, to private counselor over-help, there's plenty for this community to reflect on while we cluck and tisk-tisk over this "shocking" scandal.

Posted by Rebecca White
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 13, 2019 at 7:28 am

Rebecca White is a registered user.

@markweiss, even "do-gooders" do bad sometimes; people are not one-dimensional. After all, sounds like he comes from a good family and still he became a VC. :)

Posted by Rebecca White
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 13, 2019 at 7:37 am

Rebecca White is a registered user.

[Post removed.]

Posted by JR
a resident of Palo Verde
on Mar 13, 2019 at 7:48 am

Stanford is a disgraced institution and its name should not be on any streets or public buildings in Palo Alto. I'm not sure Palo Alto has the power to rename the Stanford Shopping Center, but we can definitely rename Stanford Ave to something more appropriate.

Posted by execfolkie
a resident of Mountain View
on Mar 13, 2019 at 7:56 am

execfolkie is a registered user.

These parents have embarrassed not only the City of Palo Alto and Stanford, but they have condemned their children to a future blemished by these illegal and nonsensical acts. There are plenty of amazing colleges around California that could give these kids a great education and wonderful university experience that would allow them to succeed in their future career endeavors. I feel sorry for the kids to have to live with this; the parents need to make amends.

Posted by Scotty
a resident of Green Acres
on Mar 13, 2019 at 8:48 am

[Post removed.]

Posted by Skeptical one
a resident of Woodland Ave. area (East Palo Alto)
on Mar 13, 2019 at 9:11 am

To execfolkie:

The parents did not embarrass Stanford. Stanford embarrassed itself. Instead of focusing on the little fish parents, we need to cast a critical eye on the institutions that facilitate this sort of bad behavior.

Posted by Eastern Society View
a resident of another community
on Mar 13, 2019 at 9:17 am

> To the person whom commented negatively towards community colleges. Nothing is wrong with attending community colleges.

Absolutely correct. Community colleges offer a viable route towards completing one's BA/BS via their accredited 2-year transfer programs.

Now getting back to these incorrigible individuals (both parents & their offspring)...

Times have changed & this account confirms that 'new money' (aka the nouveau riche) will never have any class because they still believe it can be purchased like clothing, jewelry, automobiles, houses etc.

Old money (i.e. the true upper class in America) goes about things a bit differently...if their children cannot initially get into a prestigious college or university of their choice, the parents send the kids to a prestigious 2-year private college from which the student then transfers.

Some examples include Menlo College in Menlo Park, CA & Lake Forest College in Evanston, IL. There are a lot of former prep school graduates at these high-end junior colleges who may have not met the grade for immediate consideration to the premier colleges & universities.

Hollywood mentalities & new money are only concerned about personal image & bragging rights which is not a characteristic of the true upper class in America.
These modern-day charlatans are to being too flashy for their own good & it shows in their actions.

Their children/the college students accepted under this scam are no better than their parents & should be expelled immediately.

Interesting how the further west one travels in the United States, the true upper class diminishes as the wealth is all founded on new money. It started with Chicago manufacturing wealth & then permeated into the west coast.

Most people don't realize that San Francisco or Los Angeles 'high-society' is an oxymoron & it's even questionable in Chicago.

New York, Boston & Philadelphia are the only areas that truly qualify & not surprisingly, the true upper class oftentimes as less money than the upper-middle class people masquerading as upper class!

Attending black & white balls, opera openings, debutante gatherings & whatnot are not automatic tickets to upward social mobility.

Right or wrong, it is a birthright of sorts. New Money = the biggest snobs.

Posted by Rebecca White
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Mar 13, 2019 at 9:30 am

@easternsocietyview, the British would say that New York, Boston amd Philadelphia are all new money. The people who settled the colonies, and emigrated to the eastern states thereafter, left behind dismal economic prospects in Europe. In other words, they weren’t “society” people as recently as 300, 400 years ago.

Posted by Suspicious
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Mar 13, 2019 at 9:38 am

I remain suspicious about the “children” as in the 18YO’s whose actual applications were submitted tomvatious “top” universities of parental choice. These aren’t 6YO’s or something!
Mom and Dad can’t handle ALL of it, the applicant has to be part of his/her own application! Do the reports mean to say parents sogned their kids’ apps and statements?!
So to claim ignorance of actions like extensive discussions/planning, manipulating test-taking, being listed as being part of a rowing team, sending doctored photos showing athletic glory, etc., strains credibility.
The “children” should be dismissed from their present institutions as this status was gained fraudulently.

Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 13, 2019 at 9:47 am

To be honest, none of this surprised me and in fact I suspected as much although the methods were not as I would have expected. Several years ago there were pictures of parents in India cheating while their children were doing exams the other side of the window.

From my experience as a high school parent, there were unsolicited emails and junk snail mail from many types of organizations offering college application help. From the blurb, it was hard to discern the wheat from the chaff. I imagine that many were legitimate but it was hard to tell from first sight if they were not. With all the parental trumpet blowing about schools, bumper stickers, parents wearing sweatshirts and similar, the prestige of getting a kid into a top school was not always just about the kid but also about the parent too.

It is about time that the whole college application business was overhauled completely. SAT/ACT prep classes and courses, college app tutors and managers, and various other businesses being touted in Palo Alto mean that money is obviously going to make a big difference about whether a student gets into a top college from Palo Alto high schools.

Sad, but it has been a fact of life that has been very evident here for some time.

Posted by Mark Weiss
a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 13, 2019 at 10:08 am

Mark Weiss is a registered user.

Speaking of Tupac, what about Bob:
Until the philosophy which hold one race superior
And another
Is finally
And permanently
And abandoned
Everywhere is war -
Me say war.
That until there no longer
First class and second class citizens of any nation
Until the colour of a man's skin
Is of no more significance than the colour of his eyes -
Me say war.
That until the basic human rights
Are equally guaranteed to all,
Without regard to race
Dis a war.

Posted by Learning-First Family
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 13, 2019 at 10:16 am

Whenever people do something like this, it makes life really hard for the kids who really need the accommodations. It’s already bad enough asking for extra time for a kid who needs it, especially a 2e kid who can often compensate in some says because of high intellectual ability but may truly need accommodations to perform to their abilities on such a test, such as in writing essays in a test format (if the child has dysgraphia or dyslexia, it can be a nightmare to try to craft an essay by hand under time constraints and only being able to make notes in the margins of a test booklet instead of having scrap paper).

When people cheat like this, it hurts the kids who really need the accommodations and for whom the chance of going to an elite school is a life changing chance to develop their abilities and passions.

I don’t understand what people think they are doing for their kids by sending them to elite colleges where they are going to be among kids with much stronger intellectual abilities and work ethic. This is not like high school where there is a slow lane. I walked off the street with what, in hindsight, was a developing flu, high fever and a cough, 30 minutes late for my ACT which I had zero prep and had never seen practice problems for, and got a 35 out of 36 on the section I was late for and perfect or near perfect scores on others. I still found the elite college I went to very, very hard work. I can’t see how it will end well for anyone who has to cheat to get a passable score on the test just to get in.

When people cheat like this, it ruins things for everyone else who needs help. There’s always someone after a natural disaster who poses as a disaster victim to take advantage, who makes it so people are leery of giving help to those who need it. People who cheat insurance give insurance companies cover to do all kinds of nasty things to the most vulnerable with the insurance companies using the cheaters as their excuse. Kids who need the accommodations, especially 2e kids who may already be performing well in some ways, will be the first to be hurt by blowback from things like this.

This is not a victimless crime because it hurts the whole system, not just the children who were taught that they can’t get anything in life on their own accord.

Posted by Sanctimonious City
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 13, 2019 at 10:42 am

The spoiled progeny of B-list actors and YouTube understudies bribed their way to a 400 point test score increase. However, a National Study of College Experience in 2009 found that Asians needed a SAT score 450 points higher than other ethnic groups to be accepted into an elite school. Both changes were conducted in backrooms with no transparency.

What's the difference?

Posted by Learning-First Family
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 13, 2019 at 10:51 am

"With that sort of score they belong more likely at a community college vs an elite university.”

Someone is living in the past.

Community colleges do serve as a second-chance place for students who didn’t like high school, or who had to take an alternate route, or who can’t afford four years of college, or who return from the military. (Community college was my father’s start on a journey to a PhD and a good job in academia.)

But they are also great places for continuing education for adults. They are fabulous places for kids engaged in self-directed, independent educations (like homeschoolers) to explore and get a broader, more custom education. They are places where students can be more autonomous, and even do more interesting and challenging learning with a less-stressful schedule. They are places where creative students can flourish with more freedom than in factory-model K-12 schooling, as Sir Ken Robinson calls it. They are places where kids who don’t fit the mold in high school can get off the treadmill and pursue their passions. (Didn’t the SJ man who just got the editing Oscar start at DeAnza’s film/TV program, then TRANSFER to USC? He apparently wasn’t the only DeAnza alum to work on the film. A program like that is way more geared to promoting learning in a creative field than high school classes that kill creativity through all that high-stress testing and hoop jumping.).

Community colleges make it possible to work and go to school, which is no shame in Silicon Valley. They are places where just having a more flexible college schedule and more college-like expectations can help unprepared students become independent and prepare to do well in college (as studies show community college transfer students do as well or better and have a higher college and elite-college graduation rate).

California community colleges have also, in recent years, coordinated with UC’s so that many of the general ed classes transfer for UC credit. There is now a guaranteed transfer spot for students at most UC’s in certain community college majors. The Mercury News says almost 10% of the UC student population are community college transfers. Things have changed.

If only the parents in this case had thought to donate all those funds to help the local community colleges, who do so much on a shoestring.

Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 13, 2019 at 11:12 am

Posted by execfolkie, a resident of Mountain View

>> These parents have embarrassed not only the City of Palo Alto and Stanford,

Not that Palo Alto and Stanford haven't done plenty in the last two decades to embarrass themselves, but, I don't see how this particularly reflects on either. The article I saw listed a couple of Palo Alto families and one unimportant Stanford coach. "Statistically insignificant." I'm sure more crooks will emerge as time goes on, but, still, a tiny fraction of students.

It does raise the question, though, regarding standardized test cheating. It sounds too easy for one person to take the test for another. It makes me wonder how many people cheat in this way. I guess at some point people will have to give DNA samples and do retina scans to take the tests.

Posted by Rebecca White
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Mar 13, 2019 at 11:13 am

[Post removed.]

Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 13, 2019 at 11:13 am

[Post removed; off topic.]

Posted by Stanford owns you
a resident of Community Center
on Mar 13, 2019 at 11:27 am

JR- great. So you will no longer be asking Stanford for money to fund your schools, pay for your Caltrain issues and all the other things you expect Stanford to pay for, since you mismanage your fall nding so badly. Oh, and also you may as well stay away from the dish area

Posted by Downfall
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Mar 13, 2019 at 12:14 pm

I do apologize for my remark that was interpreted as disparaging community colleges. The people who have flagged it are correct and despite my earlier remark I do have respect for community colleges and realize they can provide great service/experience for people.

As some others on this list have noted I was just trying to point out that if some of the students who benefited from this scandal did not do very well on their SATs /ACTs, putting them in an elite university is only setting them up for future failure. Unless of course the parents have found a way to cheat/buy their way to good grades at the university as well.

Posted by Michelle Li
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Mar 13, 2019 at 12:25 pm

I know some of the people involved and they are otherwise good people. The kids are wonderful and likely would have been admitted into great schools without help. I think the admission system takes advantage of people’s fears and emotions, so that otherwise decent people feel driven to do whatever it takes. I’m not excusing them and there needs to be consequences, but schools have always given big donors an edge. Maybe we just need these institutions to come out and say that families donating over, say, $250,000 get special consideration (as they apparently do), so people won’t try to make their money talk illegally. The schools need to be open and honest about their decisions first, so that myths of certain schools having all geniuses can die.

Posted by Concerned_Citizen
a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 13, 2019 at 12:55 pm

Replying to "wondering": this is not a victim-less crime; the victims -- the people directly hurt by this fraud -- were the hardworking students who would have been admitted in place of the students whose parents bought their way in. That's why this is a criminal, not a civil, matter.

Posted by Trump University?
a resident of St. Claire Gardens
on Mar 13, 2019 at 12:58 pm

[Post removed.]

Posted by Chris
a resident of University South
on Mar 13, 2019 at 1:18 pm


I don’t think you read how bad some of the test scores were without cheating.

At Stanford, $250K would not help you get in the “back door” and with the credentials these kids had almost no amount of money would help them. That is why they tried the phony athlete ploy.

Posted by MP
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 13, 2019 at 1:20 pm

For people wondering why wealthy parents care to send their kids to elite colleges: it's to ensure:
1. no meangling with "lower classes"
2. future connections - the "old boy - and girl - network"
3. much better job prospects - e.g. Google, FB, Amazon, Apple will only consider elite colleges graduates for non-engineering positions

All in all, "it's the Capitalism, stupid", who has the most money wins

Posted by Barbara H
a resident of Los Altos
on Mar 13, 2019 at 2:15 pm

As someone who works in college consulting, the current bribery scandal doesn't surprise me at all. I often hear about students who were admitted to "selective" colleges because their parents funded a building or made a large gift donation. Ask anyone who attends local private high schools.
The Ivys and colleges like Stanford have created a monster by driving up applicant numbers. The more students they reject, the more selective they appear to be. It's part of their "branding." It isn't enough for students to earn a high GPA and take rigorous classes, they are also asked to list Honors and Awards and extra activities. The competitive hurdles students have to jump over just to get into a "good" college are higher and harder, more so each year. The entire college application process is inflated, unrealistic, and artificial. Shame on the colleges.

Posted by MidtownMom
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 13, 2019 at 3:02 pm

How did the children not know? The children knew their own capabilities (one news article said that the kid's academics was lower than the lowest standard accepted at USC ) .. the children saw the other kids work at it / I am sure they knew the requirements / min grades ... then they get the admission handed to them on a silver platter. The kids HAD to know mommy and daddy pulled strings here and there ..

Posted by MAGA
a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 13, 2019 at 3:25 pm

@MidtownMom - most of the kids knew exactly what was going on. They were cheating on SAT tests, posing for bogus photos with sports equipment, etc. Other news reports say that the colleges are in the process of expelling the students who obviously conspired in the crimes. There are some cases where the evidence isn't clear yet, but those are still being investigated. Remember that these people all have good lawyers, so the schools have to proceed carefully.

Posted by Mark Weiss
a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 13, 2019 at 3:26 pm

Mark Weiss is a registered user.

"Accept the mystery" (J. Coen, E. Coen, 2009) -- not to be confused with the all-CCS football and baseball twin Coans from Gunn, who we presume actually did score so many touchdowns and home runs and did not have to pay journalists to fabricate heroics.

Web Link

Web Link

Posted by Chip
a resident of Professorville
on Mar 13, 2019 at 3:27 pm

@ Barbara H- Colleges want & will accept the best students they can get from the applicant pool. This is neither surprising nor shameful. ff anything, the prevalent custom of applying to multiple colleges makes this worse. A top student may be accepted in several places but can obviously only attend 1 school. This leads to the wait-listing which is so stressful for kids while schools see how many students will actually accept the invites to attend.

We need to get over the idea that every kid has go to college. Bring back carpentry & auto-shop so kids whose talents & interests lie outside of AP classes & elite colleges get some exposure to valuable trades. Every Benz, Ferrari, and Maserati on the road needs skilled mechanics to keep them operating. How nice would it be if construction crews on $300K kitchen remodels were high school grads able to read & speak English?

I don't blame the colleges for this scandal but I do think "legacies" and offspring of big building/wing donors should be held to the same admission standards as other students. If the offspring of a multi-million dollar donor gets into the school, is the school bound to keep him if he isn't performing up to par? If the kid flunks out, does the school refund the "gift" or do they do the equivalent what used to be called "social promotion" where kids were promoted to the next grade anyway? Are profs for these special legacy or donor offspring warned in advance that they have to give those kids passing grades, no matter what?

Posted by What Will They Do Next
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 13, 2019 at 4:23 pm

What Will They Do Next is a registered user.

[Post removed.]

Posted by Tired of the College Application Process
a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 13, 2019 at 4:28 pm

Why does this whole college application process have to be so complicated? Why can't kids just enjoy high school?

To apply to a university in Canada, all you do is provide your top 6 scores from high school (comprised of 5 core courses plus an elective of your choice) and write a short essay. That's it. No laning, no weighted/unweighted averages, no APs vs Honors vs regular lanes, no extracurricular activity requirements, no need to start special clubs or volunteer at NGOs, no need to intern at a company, no need to spend a summer overseas in a remote village off the grid milking goats and saving endangered animals, etc.

There are so many points in the U.S. college application process that can be "gamed" to a student's advantage.

And sadly, it's the honest and hard-working individuals - regardless of their financial status - that lose. Even more sad are the honest and hard-working individuals who deserve a leg up.


Posted by Sanctimonious City
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 13, 2019 at 5:07 pm

Sanctimonious City is a registered user.

[Post removed.]

Posted by Paly Parent
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Mar 13, 2019 at 5:33 pm

What these parents did was wrong, but you have to ask yourselves why did they have to resort to this.
The demographics of our country have changed and the people we have allowed in through the education loophole have changed everything in Western countries.
Honor, morals, integrity.
Cheating in developing countries is big business and widespread.
There is no honor, integrity, or morals.
For decades, Western Universities accepted applicants at their word.
They admitted foreign students over our own children, and our kids were competing with applicants with fake test scores, and fake letters of reference. Paid for.
This was done to help the parents gain entrance to Western countries by way of their child through a student visa.
Change the immigration laws.
Only allow foreign students entry if there are spaces left over because the foreign students are no better.

Posted by Barbara H
a resident of Los Altos
on Mar 13, 2019 at 5:51 pm


Re: "Colleges want & will accept the best students they can get from the applicant pool." Application numbers are sky high. For example, this year Stanford received 47,450 applications, for which they admitted 2,040 students. MANY applicants earned GPAs of 4.0 and higher, had high test scores, and were in the top 5-10% of their graduating class.
This is repeated across the U.S. and because of this, students apply up to 20 colleges, not knowing where they might be admitted. While I agree that we still need vocational education, students know that a college degree usually means a higher income. By the way, students don't flunk out of the elite schools -- that would damage their reputations about selecting "the best." Students can take a gap year, stop out, or earn a C, or even drop a class at the last minute without it ever appearing on their transcript. Privilege.

Posted by Skeptical one
a resident of Woodland Ave. area (East Palo Alto)
on Mar 13, 2019 at 8:01 pm

Dear Anon,

Anyone who has worked in academia knows that this has a huge reflection on Stanford. Stanford tightly controls who is able to solicit and receive money from donors. Stanford leadership decides what happens to donations... not some patsy sailing coach. There is no way this was some rogue "statistically insignificant" incident. This is just one of many corrupt practices that usually goes unnoticed by outsiders and/or is covered up in academic circles.

Posted by Soul Brother
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Mar 13, 2019 at 8:27 pm

[Post removed.]

Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 13, 2019 at 8:46 pm

osted by Skeptical one, a resident of Woodland Ave. area (East Palo Alto)

>> Stanford leadership decides what happens to donations... not some patsy sailing coach. There is no way this was some rogue "statistically insignificant" incident.

Hey, if you have evidence that this is systematic at Stanford-- call the FBI.

Or, are you a Cal grad? ;-)

Posted by Paly Parent
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Mar 13, 2019 at 9:15 pm

[Post removed.]

Posted by University
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Mar 13, 2019 at 10:28 pm

[Post removed.]

Posted by mania
a resident of Ventura
on Mar 13, 2019 at 10:51 pm

[Post removed.]

Posted by JayLaw
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 13, 2019 at 11:28 pm

[Post removed.]

Posted by Jay Law
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 13, 2019 at 11:38 pm

Hey Paly Parent - what do you mean, “We have to ask ourselves why parents stoop to this type of thing?”. Uh, no we don’t. We need to look no further to see this: Stupidity. Greed. Frustrated egotists. [Portion removed.]

Posted by accepted students
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Mar 14, 2019 at 12:23 am

Although I'm not surprised that wealthy parents tried to game the system, I'm surprised that some of the kids apparently did OK and successfully graduated from college. My daughter's (un-doctored) profile was probably similar to that of many of these students: mediocre grades (ADHD, poor study skills), high SAT scores (smart) and athletic ability. She was accepted to a selective liberal arts college where she was excited to play her favorite sport...but ended up failing most of her classes (turns our you need to attend class regularly and submit your assignments on time in college, just like in HS), was given academic probation, and is back at home attending CC.

Posted by Old school local
a resident of Menlo Park
on Mar 14, 2019 at 12:59 am

@Paly Parent

To label foreign students as cheaters who have “no honor, integrity or morals” is xenophobic and disgusting. Just because there is corruption in foreign countries does not mean all their citizens are corrupt. I can’t believe 12 people liked your post.

Posted by Paly Parent
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Mar 14, 2019 at 1:46 am

@ Old School Local. You are correct of course. My apologies. Of course not all foreigners.
Many foreigners from certain developing countries pay incredible sums of money for their children to get perfect scores, disability exceptions for tests, and professionally written fake references.
You don't see this because they are advertised in languages which you may not be able to read.
There are many agencies in Asia and India and South East Asia that have been doing this for at least 3 decades.
Our universities did not do enough research into this to figure it out until students were unable to write papers on their own in class, and students began to complain and question their TA's and professors abilities.
Things slowly began to unravel over the years.
My spouse and I are both engineers, and have worked overseas for many years.
We were stunned to see the level of cheating that went on, and also the falsification of academic credentials by nearly everyone of importance. Top government officials, engineers, medical doctors, - fake diploma’s.
These diplomas were obtained via schools called “diploma mills”, and entrance to medical schools was obtainable by paying the right sum of money after the equivalent of 12th grade high school.
Cheating and fake diplomas do not carry the same level of humiliation or punishment overseas as they would be here.
Dishonor only seemed to occur if one's family member were caught after causing others bodily harm. The family would have to immigrate overseas to escape humiliation of the family name.

I am telling you what I know from working over there for many years.
We literally still have hundreds of friends in Asia, and India.
Some have named their businesses (and also their first born son) after the surname of my family because they felt we helped them so much while we worked there. Xenophobic is not the correct term for anyone in my household.

Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 14, 2019 at 8:52 am

Although this is not excusable behavior, it is understandable, I think.

The problem is that the system makes it so easy for cheaters to attain their goal. The system is the college application system itself. When some students apply to 20+ colleges and have professional people helping them with the application, it is easy to see where this starts. Additionally, with colleges taking into account extra curricula activities and parents put their kids into overseas charitable programs or, dare I say it, making their school district change the name of two schools, it is making the academic nature of the application only a small part of the process. The fact is that a few students end up with a stack of acceptances while others who are just as bright academically but have refused to play the game, may end up with a couple of state colleges where they do very well nonetheless. The fact that most students know there are those with whom they can't compete because of parental financial involvement does nothing to help with their feeling of achievement as they bravely prepare for their college careers.

It would be a much fairer system all round if all qualified students were put into a lottery at all colleges. It would at least give a good B+ student a good boost to their personal self esteem.

Posted by Rachel
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 14, 2019 at 9:44 am

These parents don't want to spend enough money to properly bribe the colleges directly; that would take $15 million minimum. Think of donating buildings and the like . But.... they are rich enough to commit fraud and bribe individuals!!!

Posted by Robert Cronin
a resident of Menlo Park
on Mar 14, 2019 at 12:01 pm

There seem to be an unusually large number of "Post removed" messages. Why?

Posted by Chip
a resident of Professorville
on Mar 14, 2019 at 12:02 pm

@ Mark Weiss
McGlashen was the dad who arranged to have his son presented as an acclaimed football kicker & punt receiver, despite the fact that the boy's school, Marin Academy, doesn't have a football team. McGlashen was on the board for Marin Academy. I'd guess it's been some time since you've had much contact with him or that his valuees have changed considerably since your shared days at Terman.

Posted by Ashok Srinivasan
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 14, 2019 at 12:29 pm

Beats me why bribing a coach is illegal but bribing the university is legal. Write to your congressperson to look into this. Even for a private university to take donations for admissions is cheating a prospective employer IMO.

Posted by Chip
a resident of Professorville
on Mar 14, 2019 at 3:24 pm

We've heard nothing about the doctors who certified that some of the test takers had learning disabilities which qualified them for extra time on tests. I wonder if there was a Singer-selected pool of docs for these exemptions & if they will be investigated.
In the 1960's, there were MDs known to provide exemptions for military service. I knew a couple of guys who went to the same one in San Jose who offered these, for a fee to young men he'd never before seen.
One of my kids has a congenital vision defect which made him eligible for "extra time" according to our local school district. This was offered in middle school. I said "No." Once out of school, he'd be competing with people with normal vision. He learned above average organizational skills & to pay close attention to details, graduated from a well-ranked university, got an MA, thrives professionally, and knows he did it on his own & didn't rely on accommodations.

Posted by MB
a resident of another community
on Mar 14, 2019 at 8:32 pm

My child graduated from an Ivy League and because of a family illness came home for a few months. She attended Foothill College for two quarters and commented that Foothill wasn't any less difficult academically than her University, actually a little more challenging because excuses were seldom accepted and students didn't parade their connections as a means of obtaining little favors. And many at Foothill were there because of a variety of reasons not a lesser intellect.
Like many others my child did earn her Ivy league placement and is now a graduate student.

Fraud is a crime as it should be.


Posted by Paly Parent
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Mar 15, 2019 at 6:10 am

My kids tell me that they were surrounded by cheaters in high school here.
They felt there was simply no way to compete with cheating students.
One went to Foothill and another to a Catholic College - Both wonderful places to learn - after being in the depressing high school here (they say).
I feel they should disallow college consulting firms in this state - Period.
Many of them work under the table, and it also is helping to create more stress for all parents and kids, regardless of nationality.
Shut them all down. Look into their bank accounts if you have to.
Our kids did fine here before these consulting and tutoring places started proliferating all over the place.
And what a sad thing to find that our kids were competing with kids from families who enabled and paid for their cheating. Sheer hell.

Posted by Paly Parent
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Mar 15, 2019 at 6:17 am

More People Charged with Cheating - Los Angeles Times.
Web Link

Actually reports on cheating occur often, but no locally wanted to discuss it.
Here are just a few I quickly found locally (in the US) but globally, there are reports on it occurring weekly.

Web Link

Web Link

Web Link

My kids are studying for finals now, but when they come home I expect them to reveal a lot of bad things that happened at Paly. Stay tuned

Posted by MidtownMama
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 21, 2019 at 11:29 am

I wonder what is going through the minds of these students (whose parents bought their way into these schools without their knowledge) - the message they are sending is how little faith they had in their own children's abilities. That's a pretty sad message.

The system is broken when there are so many high stakes tests, when resume/CV padding is more important than authentic learning experiences, that qualities like creativity, passion, compassion, resourcefulness are set aside for the almighty GPA.

As for the fake accommodations on standardized test comment --- my gifted but anxious child used to be be debilitated in taking exams. She has benefited greatly from accommodations that help her stretch her body and break the test down into smaller sections so that she remembers to breath normally. I would hate to see the over-reaction take away this much needed tool for supporting students with disabilities to show their real knowledge. Otherwise, these tests are basically really a test of your standardized test-taking abilities and little else.

Finally, let's also remember Terman and Jordan - yes, the same eugenics supporters - they were creators of these standardized IQ tests - it was about screening for who is deserving of education and who is not. My proposal to even the playing field is that every student should be given just more time than needed to complete the test instead of this artificial way of test taking. How artificial is it in today's more complex knowledge society to be told you have to operate in a fixed time frame and deliver the goods from memory as if we were all replaceable industrial factory workers. We never were in the first place, but that is how we designed our society.

Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 21, 2019 at 12:03 pm

I remember being on good terms with professors at colleges I attended in the past. I saw a lot of just blatant cheating, but also behavior from certain groups that ordinary students did not have - like homework from friends, older siblings, previous tests and assignments, and of course the support from parents in whatever industry. I also heard teachers talking about how they were offered money and other bribes to fix grades - going way back.

If I had to extrapolate from what I have experienced, heard and then read throughout the years, and compare it with what is happening in industry after industry I think we have to be prepared to at least keep our eyes open and expect to see a society that is permeated with a corruption so common people do not blink their eyes when they come across it. Trump is the ultimate expression of this.

The only hard and fast serious rule is - sarcasm, dismiss with humor, always deny, never admit it, and always behave deadly serious with as straight a face as as you can when dealing with members of the out-group. Keep the suckers working and supporting the whole scam.

The USA will not be able move forward until we admit this, root it out, and find a reasonable and flexible compromise and decide to move forward.

The one great thing America used to have was the rule of law and an egalitarian expectation of a classless society. That is what got all those American immigrants that worked so hard to come here to begin with, and to risk their lives to fight to preserve it. Can we renew this country or are we just on a permanent decline?

Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 21, 2019 at 12:07 pm

Good book from 2004 by David Callahan - "The Cheating Culture: Why More Americans Are Doing Wrong to Get Ahead"

Only today we really have the technical means to hide and twist this in the media and the public mind. We have an over-riding motivation for totalitarianism to defend our fake-oligarchy.

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