Cold Grey Pre-Dawn Open Thread: Kollege Admissions

64 replies
  1. 1
    NotMax says:

    Dammit, stuff like this makes me miss the idle rich.


  2. 2
    Jay says:

    Pretty sure that some of the parents could have gotten their kids in the “old fashioned way”, but wanted to only spend $0.20 on the dollar.

  3. 3
    Duane says:

    Mom picks up daughter returning from college. Daughter says,” Mom I ain’t a virgin no more.” Mom says,” I spend all this money on that expensive school…and you still say ain’t?”

  4. 4
    David 🎅🎄Merry Christmas🎄🎅 Koch says:

    20 years ago I read a long Mick Jagger interview. He got off on a tangent on one of his daughters trying to get into Harvard, but they wanted Jagger to donate a million dollars to fund a department chair and he thought that was too much so she went to another school.

    My initial reaction was, “wow, Jagger is filthy rich, why is he haggling over a million dollars”. Then I realized they weren’t asking for a “donation” but for a bribe and then it struck me, “Ohhhh, that’s how the ne’er do wells get in.”

  5. 5
    Arclite says:

    Thing that pisses me of is that they are taking legitimate spots for people trying to get in on scholarship. My daughter is a swimmer who always goes to state championships and places. She also has a 1500 SAT score she’s trying to kick up to 1600. She’s a junior and she’s looking at Ivys. Not for parental bragging rights like these fuckers, but because she’s smart and she wants to challenge herself. We’re barely middle class, and it would be nice for her to finish college without a $200k debt to pay off.

  6. 6
    mrmoshpotato says:

    @Duane: Yes. You and Daddy didn’t buy the English department, remember?

  7. 7
    Cermet says:

    As someone who’s child got into the top Ivy League school in her chosen field, and also received massive reduced tuition from said school, all I can say is: merit does pay’s off, for sure.

    This, however, is just the 0.1% pretending they are the 0.001% and that, those 0.001% fuckers will never tolerate; hence, the FBI sting and jail terms will be received for the most famous (and of course, those with the least political connections, as well.)

  8. 8
    TriassicSands says:

    I have covered college sports more or less my entire career. but I never thought I’d live long enough to see a recruiting scandal that involved the admission of athletes who couldn’t play.

    It’s just the flip side of “student-athletes” who can’t “student.”

  9. 9
    OzarkHillbilly says:


  10. 10
    Amir Khalid says:

    @David 🎅🎄Merry Christmas🎄🎅 Koch:
    Jagger is CEO of the Rolling Stones as a business concern, a successful one, and over the years he’s stood the Stones’ ground against record labels, tour promoters, and venue owners like Donald Trump. He wouldn’t stand for Harvard trying to shake him down.

  11. 11
    BellyCat says:

    Capitalism solves everything education.

  12. 12
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    “What Singer was good at doing was calibrating the fake credentials to appear realistic and not so impressive as to invite suspicion or additional scrutiny,” said Lelling.

    A lawyer for Singer said on Tuesday evening his client intended to cooperate fully with federal prosecutors. The attorney Donald Heller told reporters that Singer was “remorseful and contrite and wants to move on with his life”. Heller sid Singer was “relieved that this part is over”.

    I’ll bet he does. My money says he’s one of the few who actually does time.

  13. 13
    Jay says:


    They didn’t go from having 45% of the wealth to having 99% of it overvthe past 40 years by being idle.

  14. 14
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    Lelling said it “remains to be seen if we charge any students” and that the colleges themselves “are not considered co-conspirators”.

    That’s because when a college accepts a bribe it’s called a donation.

  15. 15
    Anne Laurie says:

    @David 🎅🎄Merry Christmas🎄🎅 Koch: IIRC, Jagger has a degree from the London School of Economics — and he didn’t have to endow a building to get it, either.

  16. 16
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Anne Laurie:
    Mick Jagger was a middle-class kid, a schoolteacher’s son. His parents wanted him to be a schoolteacher too, but he dropped out of the LSE in 1963, soon after the Stones’ first single came out.

  17. 17
    JGabriel says:

    via Anne Laurie @ Top:

    Steadman™ (@AsteadWesley):

    This quote is actually illuminating. “Why didnt the rich people just exert their influence the socially acceptable way?”

    Yashar Ali (@yashar):

    US Attorney re the Huffman/Loughlin (among others) college scam: “We’re not talking about donating a building…we’re talking about fraud.”

    The best way to summarize this scandal is: Elite universities are pissed that the bribes they collect for admitting subpar students are being collected by employees instead.

  18. 18
    Jay says:


    Naw, Rich People buy Privledge for $0.20 on the dollar.

  19. 19

    @Arclite: This, this, this. TeensFromOhio busted their asses, nailed the SATs and ACTs, scored some scholarship love, and are getting degrees with no debt. They did it themselves, because no way daddy BFO can muster any cash to grease any wheels. No one can ever take that away from them, and they have their pride and their names intact.

    “After all that, Loughlin’s daughter apparently doesn’t even care about school in the first place.”

    Now you are out the benjamins, and your name dragged around like a rag cleaning up the dogs piss. Fucking parasites.

  20. 20
    Barbara says:

    @Amir Khalid: Mick Jagger’s kids didn’t need to go to Harvard to be who or whatever they want to be and unlike these parents Jagger was smart enough to realize that.

  21. 21
    MagdaInBlack says:

    Would these be the same folks who feel affirmative action is a bad thing?

  22. 22
    Barbara says:

    @MagdaInBlack: I doubt if there is one to one correspondence. My take is that these are mostly classic high achieving parents whose kids have failed to come even close to meeting their expectations, for whatever reason, but probably mostly just the normal distribution of smarts and drive in a given population. Instead of trying to help the kid figure out the best path for them, the parents wanted credentials that the kids could not attain on their own.

  23. 23
    batguano says:

    My stepdaughter just won a full tuition scholarship to her top college choice. We’re not wealthy, she didn’t have an admissions coach, she’s just that damn good.

  24. 24
    Ken says:

    little Jackalope McQueasy is lazy

    Please! That’s Jackalope McQueasy III, or “Trey” as we call him.

  25. 25
    Ian G. says:

    I remember when the story came out that Shitgibbon had mocked Jeff Sessions for his accent and his degree from the University of Alabama (nothing elitist about that, right MAGAts?) that I said that if I had two job applicants, one with a 4.0 from the University of Alabama or another state school and one with a 3.0 from an Ivy League school, I’d take the state school applicant every time. Having attended an Ivy League school, I can confirm the place was full of lazy entitled shits who were there because their parents had money/connections.

  26. 26
    Dr. Ronnie James, D.O. says:

    @MagdaInBlack: People forget: one of college’s major functions for the already wealthy is as a kind of 4 year daycare / insurance policy. Most kids 18-22 do the same stupid shit, but in College, your mistakes are handled by Campus Security and the Honor Board, as opposed to the LAPD and LA County Sheriff. I went to a somewhat “elite” liberal arts school (through the front door!) and there were several students there who in hindsight we just there to screw and get high until it was time to start that job at Dad’s construction company / car dealership / winery, etc.

  27. 27
    low-tech cyclist says:


    Thing that pisses me of is that they are taking legitimate spots for people trying to get in on scholarship. My daughter is a swimmer who always goes to state championships and places. She also has a 1500 SAT score she’s trying to kick up to 1600. She’s a junior and she’s looking at Ivys.

    Dude. Something like 1/3 of the slots in every Harvard freshman class go to legacies.

    In terms of depriving more deserving students like your daughter of slots at top universities, this stuff is down in the white noise.

  28. 28
    Walker says:

    Our admissions is able to sleep at night over traditional “bribing” because it is how we fund the financial aid for everyone else. If you are middle class and can get in, it is cheaper to go to an Ivy (solely on financial aid, not merit scholarships) than a state school.

  29. 29
    Another Scott says:

    Thread: HighlySelectiveHat:


    Here’s one of our errors in thinking about the criminal justice system: most people get treated like shit, but rich people get treated better. When we notice this our reaction tends to be LET’S MAKE SURE RICH PEOPLE GET TREATED LIKE SHIT TOO. /1

    1:56 PM – 12 Mar 2019


    I’m in the yes and no camp at the moment.

    I think I got into (private) college at least partly because my dad graduated from there. I had good but not extraordinary grades and test scores. I got free tuition because my mom worked there as a secretary (and had a strong union). There’s an awful lot more that goes into acceptance decisions than grades and scores, and that’s a good thing in most cases. And as long as schools have to rely on donations to keep the lights on, then donors will want more than their names on a building in return.

    The justice system needs to treat everyone fairly, and the “beat up on the near-rich” aspects of this seem designed to drive memes and clicks and take our eyes away from the prize (electing sensible people who will make our economy and society more just). But how does one get there except by making a stink about how near-rich people tried to game the system yet again?


  30. 30
    Mathguy says:

    @Ian G.: A 3.0 at an Ivy is equivalent to a 1.5 GPA anywhere else.

  31. 31
    jonas says:

    Obligatory Simpsons reference for the occasion:

    Mr. Burns: Something is not right about Larry’s upbringing. Send for the boys of Yale at once!
    (Burns’ office. Two admissions officers from Yale are by his desk)
    Mr. Burns: Well, did you meet Larry?
    Male Admissions Officer: Oh yes. He made light of my weight problem, then suggested my motto ought to be “Semper Fudge”. After that he told me to “relax”.
    Mr. Burns: How were his test scores?
    Female Admissions Officer: Let’s just say this: he spelled “Yale” with a 6.
    (Mr. Burns, in a not-to-subtle moves, opens his checkbook)
    Mr. Burns: I see. Well, I- …Oh, that reminds me, it is time for your annual contribution. How much should I give?
    Male Admissions Officer: Well frankly, test scores like Larry’s would merit a very generous donation. A score of 400 would require new football uniforms. 300 would require a new dormitory. And in Larry’s case? We’d need an international airport.
    Female Admissions Officer: Yale could use an international airport, Mr. Burns.
    Mr. Burns: Are you mad?! I am not made of airports! Get out!

  32. 32
    Another Scott says:

    @Mathguy: Meh.

    I remember an intermediate-level math course I took in college at Chicago (not officially an Ivy League, but kinda-sorta when it comes to competition for admissions and aid). There were about 5 of us in the class (not that unusual in highly-selective schools) and the prof insisted on grading on a curve… :-/

    I remember people complaining about grade inflation in 1980. It’s always been a thing. You should hear the stories my J tells about new graduate and post-graduate “kids these days” who come from state schools… ;-)



  33. 33
    jonas says:

    @Ian G.: I can confirm the place was full of lazy entitled shits who were there because their parents had money/connections.

    Yup. They could *afford* to relax because their path in life and future success would have absolutely nothing to do with their performance in college.

  34. 34

    @Ian G.:

    I know.

    If I ever become President I will avoid hiring ANYBODY with a fcking Harvard or Yale degree. They’ve overwhelmed our legal and political systems with entitled hacks who didn’t work for anything. I’d rather have a SCOTUS full of law students from middle class backgrounds and decent small law colleges where the law will be taught differently than the factories that Harvard and Yale have turned themselves into.

  35. 35
    Wag says:


    So, not planning on hiring the next generation’s fresh, young Obama?

  36. 36
    Tenar Arha says:

    @Another Scott: There’s the blatant tax cheating, then there’s the manipulation of systems that are designed for kids with real disabilities who are smart enough to go to school who will now be treated like dirt when they try to use those systems, and then there’s the crosshairs landing on the mothers instead of the fathers…

    With Huffman they have a string of emails and calls relating to both daughters, but with Macy they have much less evidence both qualitatively and quantitatively. That may not be the whole reason he wasn’t indicted, but it’s surely a big part of it.

    You do kind of get the impression that what saved Macy from indictment today was the gendered character of household domestic labor. May not be the case, but kind of looks that way.

    The wife sets up the playdates, The parent-teacher conferences, the SAT cheating. The wife handles the emails, so the wife gets indicted.

    ETA I will never know for sure if it my mother’s legacy was what put me over the top at my school🤷‍♀️, but I know her pushing me for 4 years in high school definitely did.

  37. 37
    Barbara says:

    @PaulWartenberg: My co-clerk graduated summa cum laude from Harvard with a degree in math. She was scary bright, and associating with her was one of the greatest pleasures of my professional life. She told me that she didn’t think she would ever accomplish anything so grand for the rest of her life. So, basically, the entitled shits fund people like my co-clerk, and the trick is trying to figure out who is who.

    But really, what interests me about this scandal is how little faith these well-heeled parents had in their children, and how much stock they invested in being able to say that their kid got into and then, hopefully, graduated from USC or Yale or Georgetown. I read the complaint. One of the kids (the lawyer’s daughter) was going to an on-line school. Let that sink in. A kid who is going to an on-line school when she lives in Greenwich, CT is someone who has significant learning or mental health issues. How could her dad not realize that dummying up her college credentials and launching her into a place like Cornell (his preferred school) might be the last thing she needed? He probably has a net worth of upwards of $10 million — with that kind of money it barely matters where his daughter goes to college, and there are a lot of small schools that probably would have met her on her own terms where she could have made the most of what she has to offer.

    And what really amazes me is that somehow, I still feel guilty for forcing my kids to take SAT prep courses to help goose their scores. But doing something like this — not in a million years.

  38. 38
    Barbara says:

    @Tenar Arha: Yes, but they indicted the lawyer-father of one of the students, and not the mother. Even though it was clear the mother knew, the father was definitely the driver. But they also indicted couples as well, so in my view they do seem to be at least trying to base these decisions on level of involvement, and also, most likely, who handled the money and signed the checks. That would be key to some of the specific charges.

    ETA: It will not surprise me that more indictments are in the offing. There is a very specific pattern here: kids who took tests in one of two specific locations, who may have received the okay to have extra time, and whose place of residence is somewhere else in the country. That’s one specific pattern, but there are likely others. It won’t be hard to match those students with payments being made to Singer or one of his co-conspirators.

  39. 39
    Tenar Arha says:

    @Barbara: Yeah, no I get that legally you indict the one who’s left the evidence for you, it makes total sense. It’s normal.

    But there’s the media focusing so specifically on Huffman and Loughlin in all the header photographs too. There’s something off about those choices, and Johnston was the closest one to providing me with a reason that helped me understand why of all stories this one is so simultaneously relatable and infuriating, you know? (My mother worked full time, but she also did the bulk of the household management which included wrangling the school stuff including signing off on my classes and report cards).

  40. 40
    Mnemosyne says:


    Was that Huffman/Macy’s older kid? G was reading all of the articles yesterday and he was saying that, from what was being reported, it sounded like the kid had some learning issues.

  41. 41
    Steeplejack says:


    Barbara said “the lawyer’s daughter.”

  42. 42
    Barbara says:

    @Tenar Arha: The focus is on Huffman and Loughlin because those are the most well-known names in the indictment. The American Lawyer and Law 360 are all over the lawyer father, and barely mentioned the others for the same reason — he is very prominent in his specialty.

  43. 43
    Percysowner says:

    This is corrupt and awful. They took spots from kids who legitimately deserved it. I am annoyed, however, that although actress Felicity Huffman, married to actor William Macy and actress Lori Loughlin, married to designer Mossimo Giannulli, owner of a multi-billion dollar the mothers are the only ones getting the bad press. I mean come on, their husbands are every bit as involved, but skating publicly

  44. 44
    gwangung says:

    @Mathguy: Hey!

    I’ll have you know I resemble that remark!

  45. 45
    What Have the Romans Ever Done for Us? says:

    @Amir Khalid: I remember hearing a story about how “Start Me Up” got used to sell Microsoft Windows 95…the Stones had never sold song rights to an advertiser before and weren’t really planning to sell to Microsoft either but as kind of a joke they named an astronomical price for the song rights. They assumed the price they demanded was hell and gone beyond anyone’s willingness to pay. Microsoft didn’t even blink – they just said yes and that was all she wrote.

  46. 46
    Victor Matheson says:

    @JGabriel: That’s a good way to summarize it, but I think one can make an valid argument that bribes going to the institution at least end up providing a public good. For example, the single largest line item in the budget at the college I teach at is financial aid for students with merit but without cash. More donations/bribes, more money available for providing education services to the rest of the students. Hard to argue that the crew coach taking a bribe provides the same sort of public benefit.

  47. 47
    Dev Null says:

    Repeating a riff from an ex-colleague: “go directly to Yale, do not pass Go, do not collect $200.”

    (In the event that you puzzle over this for more than 2 seconds – I did! – I suggest you say the sentence out loud.)

  48. 48
    Victor Matheson says:

    @Barbara: Totally agree about the Jagger comment. Anyone with parents who have $500K to spend on a bribe are going to end up totally fine no matter what school they end up at. The kids who need the better credentialing to survive aren’t likely to have parents with the means to buy the credentialing. I am wildly confused about this whole line of thinking by the parents here and I am even in higher education.

  49. 49
    Luthe says:

    @Percysowner: The strange thing is that Lori Loughlin is making the headlines even though she wasn’t indicted. Her husband was the one who got arrested. But he’s “only” a fashion designer and therefore not famous enough to get media attention.

  50. 50
    Uncle Cosmo says:


    …when a college accepts a bribe it’s called a donation.

    What really pisses the schools off is (i) they didn’t make a penny out of the scam, but more importantly (ii) they could’ve sold off “awarded” those slots for a helluva lot more in bribes “donations.” As far as those dens of thieves “august institutions” are concerned, the real crime is that their employees who were involved in the operation stole the bribery money donations that were rightfully theirs, and at pennies on the dollar no less.

    ETA: TL;DR version at #17 supra (h/t JGabriel). Scooped yet again…:^(

  51. 51
    Arclite says:

    @Barbara: Nor did Mick Jagger require the egotistical bragging rights of “My kid went to Harvard.” He’s Mick fucking Jagger.

  52. 52
    scav says:

    @Victor Matheson: It also sorta depends if you are raising and thinking of children as themselves or raising them as accessories demonstrating how perfect you and your lifestyle are. “My kid in Yale” can be entirely about the serotonin rush in the parent.

  53. 53
    MCA1 says:

    @Barbara: Can I just co-sign every one of your posts in this thread? You’re right on the money in each of them. In the BigLaw world right now no one’s talking about two has-been actresses, they’re talking about the managing partner at Willkie Farr. And I’m told by my b-i-l that in the PE world, everyone’s all over the industry members who got rolled into this.

    Plenty of the indicted are men, and in a large number of cases it’s both parents who got charged, so I think we can assume it’s about evidence here. They might still charge other parents once they start sitting down with people and waving prison sentences in front of them.

    Funniest comment I’ve seen so far on this whole thing was to the tune of “William H. Macy’s wife just got arrested for a crime that you could imagine literally every William H. Macy character getting arrested for.”

  54. 54
    Arclite says:

    @low-tech cyclist:

    Dude. Something like 1/3 of the slots in every Harvard freshman class go to legacies.

    Sure, but rarely as athletes. Those are the spots they are taking.

  55. 55
    Barbara says:

    @scav: Yeah, but my kid who bombed and flunked out of Yale after spending his first year smoking dope non-stop doesn’t have quite the same rush. This is what I can’t understand. Your kids are people with needs and talents and for some kids enrolling at Yale (or Georgetown or USC) might be the worst thing that could happen to them. Among other things, money can buy you space and time and the flexibility to give your kids a softer landing without having to walk the straight and narrow path of getting into an elite college. And it’s such a breach of trust and a vote of zero confidence in their kids, especially if they really did hide it from them, which I am not convinced of.

  56. 56
    scav says:

    @Barbara: but you’re already thinking of them with individuals with needs and talent and weaknesses (heaven forfend!) in all of that. Think of them more as handbags if that helps make the imaginative leap. This just is one of the many steps the bipedal accessories perform: traditionally they joined the family firm (whether they wanted to or not) married appropriately (ditto) and produced cute grandchildren on schedule.

  57. 57
    Cathie from Canada says:

    The FBI has me convinced that the most corrupt endeavor in the United States must be its universities — they’ve been investigating college sports for years, now they’re investigating the academic side. I’m starting to wonder how many in the FBI are still mad because they didn’t get a sports scholarship, or admission to an ivy league college?

  58. 58
    varmintito says:

    As somebody whose kid is neither interested in nor qualified to be admitted to a big name college, this whole episode makes me profoundly sad but I get where the parental anxiety is coming from.

    I look at the economic future, and I see a place where the small minority with the right credentials, connections and experience will prosper, but everybody else faces a future where they have dramatically less opportunity, security, autonomy, etc. I don’t want my kid to have a future where she gets exploited and pushed around.

  59. 59
    MCA1 says:

    Imagine being one of these kids now, too. You may have worked hard through high school, gotten a 31 on your ACT and figured you just got lucky in being admitted to UCLA when you were figuring you’d end up at UCSD or some other selective but not elite school. Now you find out that not only is your parent a felon, but that they didn’t even believe in you enough to just let you land somewhere on your own merit and figure out a path on your own.

    Every single one of these kids went to a top notch high school, has parents of means, and grew up in an environment where they have a built-in phenomenal network. Their friends will be successful and their parents and friends’ parents know people in tons of different industries. The “who you know” part of life was handed to them by growing up in the right place. It’s not the end of the fucking world if they end up at Colorado State. They’ll be fine.

    This whole thing is incredibly resonant because, in addition to catching up a number of very high profile people and making for scuttlebutt that way, it’s symbolic of any number of cultural psychoses in America 2019. Yes, entitlement, but also deep dysfunction in the education “industry,” our neurotic obsession with money and status as virtue signals, embedded aristocracy and wealth distribution inequalities, and a creeping infantilism in the way we raise our young. I’m not one of those guys who goes off about participation trophies and all that, but that’s kind of what this is. God forbid Mossimo and Loughlin allow their children to discover they’re not as special as they’ve been told to think of themselves.

    Just for perspective, there were probably 3.5 million kids graduating from high schools in the U.S. last year. Even if you knock out 40% of them as not prepared for college or living in circumstances that don’t really allow for aspiring to a college degree, we’d be looking at about approximately 2 million kids competing for college admissions. The top 20 ranked universities out there have a combined freshman class every year of perhaps 40,000, total. So, we’re talking 2 in a hundred high school graduates are in position to possibly get into one of these schools. A 50th percentile academic achiever kid, like a B or B+ student, even a highly competitive, high powered private school with amazing resources, has no business being at USC, much less Georgetown, much less f’ing Yale.

  60. 60
    MCA1 says:

    @TriassicSands: It’s not, though. At least, and I’m not in any way defending the swamp of college sports or the capture of institutions with a stated mandate of advancing education by athletic departments, the quarterback with underwhelming grades and scores is capable at football and “contributes” something to the school. These kids were neither academically qualified nor collegiate athlete material.

  61. 61
    Parfigliano says:

    @Barbara: prominently disbarred in the near future

  62. 62
    Barbara says:

    @Parfigliano: In the darwinian struggle of clawing your way to the best deal possible after being indicted, these parents have nothing to give the government. They have zero leverage other than threatening to force the government to spend resources litigating.

  63. 63
    artem1s says:

    considering these admission scores were inflated, I wonder when US News and World Report will revise their rankings? The private university I work for (near Ivy) doesn’t engage much in legacy admissions because they want to make sure their ranking stays up there with the Ivy’s. Doesn’t mean they never do it, it just means that they are focused on making sure each entering class doesn’t decrease their rankings. You can’t keep your ranking up if you are admitting too many W’s, 45’s and other trust fund failures. Competition to say your school is in the top 10 or whatever is critical to recruiting – critical to donations from alum – critical to what you can charge for tuition. It’s one big circle jerk. this is going to have a ripple effect on a lot of related businesses.

  64. 64
    smintheus says:

    @Arclite: Do Ivies give sports scholarships now?

    In my day, places on at least some teams were routinely given to rich kids because it was a mode to get them admitted if they were underqualified academically. There were no sports scholarships allowed by mutual agreement, so these roster spots became valuable chips in recruiting parents who might give big donations in thanks.

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