Column: Rich People Pave the Way for Their Kids College Admissions. Are we Surprised?


Courtesy of

A map of some of the more prestigious universities to attend in the U.S.

By Fabian Mendoza, Godinez Fundamental High School

Parents try their hardest to make their children happy, often times at the expense of others.

On March 12, 2019, federal prosecutors released information that uncovered a bribery plot where rich and successful parents were bribing colleges for a guaranteed admission for their children. William Singer, from Newport Beach, Calif., the central figure of the bribery scandal, was charged with bribery, falsifying SAT scores, disabilities, racketeering, and obstruction of justice.

Amongst the 50 people that were hit with federal bribery charges for their participation in the 2019 college admission scandal, actresses Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman were some of the most notable.

Several arrests have been made in the ongoing investigations including coaches from USC and UCLA for their participation in the bribery scandal. These coaches have since been fired from their positions at their universities.

USC and Yale, two schools that have been caught up in the bribery scandal, have since declared that applications of any students that are involved in the scandal will be rescinded. The students who are part of the scandal and currently enrolled are being reviewed on a case by case basis by their schools.

Perhaps the most important thing to take away from these scandals is the idea of privilege. In low income communities, parents paying your way through life is an abstract concept for most teenagers. More often than not, our parents in Santa Ana are constantly struggling to make ends meet and make sure that they’re supporting us as much as they possibly can. So when there are parents out there that are bribing schools, people like me have no choice but to feel disillusioned.

At Godinez Fundamental High School, the concept of having your entire life paid for by your parents is completely foreign to the vast majority of our campus. Most of the students at Godinez come from low income families.

I have to reject schools that I otherwise could have attended because my family is unable to afford the tuition”

— Fabian Mendoza

I am one of those students. Over the course of 4 years, I’ve maintained a 4.5 GPA and scored a 1300 on my SAT. Despite all of the things I’ve accomplished, I have to reject schools that I otherwise could have attended because my family is unable to afford the tuition. This is the situation that 1,000s of students in my community and many more across the country are facing. Despite our hard work and dedication, it truly is disheartening to know that our spots have been taken by students that had their parents pay for their entry into a university.

Rachel Gutierrez, Valedictorian of the Class of 2019 at Godinez, believes, “that this entire scandal brings to light the injustice and corruption that has been occurring for years.” She  added, “this is really unfair to those that are forced into a disadvantageous position due to their socio- economic status.”

Students that are not privileged have to work twice as hard to secure a position at a prestigious university.

We challenge themselves by taking multiple AP and Honors courses, studying for the SAT and participate in extracurricular activities to appeal to admission offices. While being involved in extracurriculars and sports around campus, students still have to make sure that they keep a good GPA. Without a good GPA, a spot at a college can be easily lost.

And if you don’t get a good SAT score, there goes your admission letter!

Teachers also feel disillusioned by the bribery scandal. Megan Blash, AP Government and AP Macroeconomics teacher on campus felt that, “the blatant distinction in the opportunities of privileged and unprivileged students is upsetting. It’s extremely unfair that even the most sacred things in the world, education and knowledge, are being corrupted by unfair ethics and corruption.”

Jackie Merino is attending Haverford College in the fall. She won a Questbridge Scholarship that pays for all her expenses. Her parents, who are undocumented and low-income, could not afford the tuition. “It’s really disheartening to see people pay their way into college when thousands of other students just like me put our blood, sweat, and tears into our schoolwork,” said Merino.

This corruption and privilege needs to stop. As a society, we will never be able to advance while people are corrupt and use unethical practices to gain advantages over people. Hard work and dedication should be recognized and placed on a pedestal above privilege and entitlement.

The lower classes have been discriminated against for too long and we will no longer stand for the injustice and corruption in something so pure and essential as education. If you attend a prestigious institution like Yale or USC, people should be able to see you and instantly recognize your hard work and accomplishments.

They should not have to wonder whether or not your parents bribed your way into a great university.

This story was originally published on Grizzly Gazette on March 21, 2019.