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Thursday, March 21, 2019

USC to deny students connected to cheating scheme class registration, transcripts as their status is frozen

The University of Southern California says it won't allow current students who may be associated with the nation's largest-ever college admissions bribery scandal to register for classes as the school conducts a "case by case review" of their involvement.
USC announced in a statement late Monday that the school has placed the accounts of each of these students on hold and notified them of their status. The action also means the students can't acquire transcripts until their review is completed. 
After the review, USC said, the school will take "proper action related to their status, up to revoking admission or expulsion." The university said it would make "informed decisions about those cases as the reviews are completed."
USC noted it has already determined which applicants seeking entry for the fall 2019 semester are connected to the scheme. They will be denied admission, the university said. 
USC officials did not say how many of its current students are involved,  nor did they identify any students by name.
Two of the students are the daughters of actress Lori Loughlin, who along with her husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli.  The couple is accused of paying bribes of $500,000 in exchange for having their daughters being designed as crew team recruits at USC even though neither played the sport. 
USC's move comes as universities implicated in the bribery scheme have taken different approaches on how to handle current students. 
At Yale University, school President Peter Salovey said on Friday that a Yale coach – identified as women's soccer head coach Rudy Meredith in court documents – gave bogus athletic endorsements to two students, only one of whom was admitted.
He said the school does not comment on disciplinary actions of individual students but added that "our longstanding policy is to rescind the admission of students who falsified their Yale College applications."
But Wake Forest University does not plan to discipline its lone student connected to the scheme because they say she was unaware of it.
"There is no evidence she had any knowledge of the alleged financial transaction," said Katie Neal, the school's assistant vice president of news and communications.
Following a nearly one-year FBI investigation, prosecutors have alleged that wealthy parents of underachieving students paid enormous sums to either cheat on the ACT or SAT or to have college athletics coaches pretend that an applicant was a prized recruit in their particular sport. The latter was described as a "side door" to get them into some of the nation's elite schools.
Fifty parents, coaches, exam administrators and the ringleader behind the scheme, William "Rick" Singer, are defendants in the federal bribery and conspiracy case led by the Justice Department out of Boston. 
After court documents were unsealed last week, USC took action  May 12 to terminate two of its employees connected to the case: associate athletic director Donna Heinel and legendary water polo coach Jovan Vavic, a 16-time national champion who had led the team since 1995. 
Both individuals were charged in the scheme. The school, which opened an internal investigation and a review of its admissions process, sad it also placed on leave a faculty member who was named in the federal indictment as a parent.
USC administrators also say the school is in the process of identifying donations that may have been received in connection with the scheme. They say they intend to determine how to redirect those funds to a non-USC organization that will benefit underserved students. The school did not say how much in donations was collected through the scam.

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