USC Bars Applicants Linked to Disgraced Firm

U of Southern California also says it will review current students with ties.

March 14, 2019
 

The University of Southern California has announced that it will not admit any students in the current application cycle who have ties to the admissions consulting business at the center of the scandal that became public this week.

The university released this statement Wednesday night to local reporters: “Applicants in the current admissions cycle who are connected to the scheme alleged by the government will be denied admission to USC. We are going to conduct a case-by-case review for current students and graduates that may be connected to the scheme alleged by the government. We will make informed, appropriate decisions once those reviews have been completed. Some of these individuals may have been minors at the time of their application process.”

The links being investigated all pertain to the ringleader in the case (who has admitted guilt to numerous charges). He is William (Rick) Singer, who coordinated the various bribes -- to coaches, proctors and others. He ran a private counseling company called the Edge College & Career Network (also known as "the Key") and a related foundation that authorities said was used to hide money used for bribes.

Of all the colleges involved in the scandal, USC has the greatest number of applicants and students who apparently have ties to Singer's company.

Wanda Austin, the interim president at USC, told the Los Angeles Times Wednesday night that "about half a dozen" current applicants will be barred because of their links to the company.

In a letter to the campus this week, Austin said, "We will take all appropriate employment actions. We will review admissions decisions. We are identifying all funds received that may be connected to the government’s allegations."

She told the Times Wednesday that the university has identified at least $1.3 million in donations from people involved in the alleged scheme. She said that the money would be shifted to scholarships for disadvantaged students.

Even as USC is trying to show that it is distancing itself from those linked to the scandal, new reports show how closely tied some of the players are to USC leaders. TMZ reported Wednesday night that when news of the indictments broke, Olivia Jade was on the yacht of USC's board chair, Rick Caruso, in the Bahamas. Jade is the YouTube personality on whose behalf her mother, the actress Lori Loughlin, is accused of participating in the admissions scheme.

Caruso confirmed the reports to TMZ, and said that Jade is a friend of his daughter and was on the trip with several friends. "My daughter and a group of students left for spring break prior to the government's announcement yesterday. Once we became aware of the investigation, the young woman decided it would be in her best interests to return home," said Caruso's statement.

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