College Admissions Bribe Scandal: Some Parents Pay $1 Million+ to Help Get into Ivy League Schools – Legally

The Associated Press
The Associated Press

A lawsuit filed last year by the college consulting company Ivy Coach reveals just how much money some families are willing to pay for assistance in getting into Ivy League schools — legally.

Last year, Ivy Coach filed a lawsuit against a Vietnamese mother who was charged $1.5 million worth in “substantial guidance and effort” to help her daughter apply to twenty-two elite colleges and seven top high school boarding schools, according to a report by Inside Higher Ed.

The lawsuit charged the mother with paying only half of the $1.5 million she owed Ivy Coach for helping her daughter apply to Amherst, Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Duke, Georgetown, Harvard, New York, Northwestern, Princeton, Stanford and Tufts Universities, MIT, and UC Berkeley, among several other schools.

The lawsuit added that assisting the Vietnamese mother caused Ivy Coach to lose out on additional opportunities to help other families with their application processes who would have paid the full amount owed.

“Ivy Coach also chose to forgo helping other families and students seeking its expertise and guidance — including those who would pay for the full value of the services and benefits provided,” stated the lawsuit.

While paying for application assistance is legal, the college consulting company still faced criticism for its exorbitant fees, so it took to blogging on its website to defend itself against its “imaginary critics” on both the right and the left.

“Our imaginary critics on the left might argue, ‘But there are only so many slots in a given class at a highly selective college each year. You’re taking slots away from low and middle-income students by helping students from more privileged backgrounds.'” blogged Ivy Coach.

“No,” added Ivy Coach, in response to its imaginary liberal critic, “Highly selective colleges seek out low and middle-income students. Read a college press release on the demographics of their admitted students and you’ll likely see how the school touts the percentage of first-generation college students, the percentage of students from low-income families, and more.”

“Our imaginary critics on the right might argue, ‘Some of your clientele is international. By helping these students earn admission to American universities, you’re taking slots away from American candidates.'” continued the consulting company.

“Oh? We beg to differ,” responded Ivy Coach to its imaginary conservative critic, “Every highly selective college seeks to admit students from around the world. These are global universities — They seek to attract the most ambitious and intellectually curious students from all corners of the world.”

With regards to the recent college admissions scandal that has embroiled parents that range anywhere from financial titans, to Hollywood actresses, to even the tennis instructor for the Obama’s, Ivy Coach says “this case marks an example of individuals who did it the wrong way.”

“Is the highly selective college admissions system perfect? No way!” states Ivy Coach on its website, “Does it favor the wealthy, the folks who can afford great SAT or ACT tutoring, the folks who can afford great private college counseling? You bet — and these are services we offer and have offered for decades.”

You can follow Alana Mastrangelo on Twitter at @ARmastrangelo and on Instagram.


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