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Stanford students sue over admissions scandal, claim it devalues their degrees

Two Stanford students claim in a class-action lawsuit over the nationwide admissions cheating scandal that the alleged scheme of rich parents bribing and cheating their kids into elite colleges denied them a fair chance to attend those schools and devalues the degrees they’re earning.
Erica Olsen and Kalea Woods allege in the complaint, filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, that the scandal has tainted the degrees they’re earning from Stanford, where a sailing coach pleaded guilty to accepting bribes toward recruiting an unqualified student.
“Her degree is now not worth as much as it was before,” the complaint states for Olsen and Woods, “because prospective employers may now question whether she was admitted to the
university on her own merits, versus having parents who were willing to bribe school officials.”
The bombshell scandal was revealed Tuesday in a series of federal charges centered around a California man, William Rick Singer, who has since pleaded guilty to charges of setting up a sham charity that funneled bribes to university coaches and standardized test cheaters.
The class-action lawsuit names Singer and his sham charity, known as The Key, as well as exclusive universities caught up in the caper — Stanford, Yale, the University of Southern California, Georgetown University, the University of California Los Angeles, the University of San Diego, the University of Texas at Austin and Wake Forest University.
Dozens of wealthy parents from the Bay Area, Hollywood and Wall Street were charged with spending tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars in alleged bribes to secure admission for their teen children, often apparently without their knowledge.
The class action further alleges Olsen, Woods and others like them were denied a fair chance at attending other elite universities caught up in the scandal.
In 2017, Olsen paid an $80 application fee in 2017 to apply at Yale, and Woods paid $85 to apply at the University of Southern California, according to the lawsuit.
The suit argues that Olsen and Woods were “never informed that the process of admission was an unfair, rigged process, in which rich parents could buy their way into the university through bribery.” Had they known that, they “would not have spent the money to apply” and they did not receive the “fair admissions consideration process” they paid for, it said.
The suit further claims that the two students had athletic talent and were not afforded a chance at admission as university athletes by the scheme in which some of the alleged bribes went to coaches to recruit students for sports they had little or no experience in.

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