The U.S. Department of Education sent letters Monday to eight universities entangled in the massive college admissions bribery scandal that each will face a “preliminary investigation.”
Presidents at the University of Southern California, the University of California at Los Angeles, Stanford University, the University of San Diego, Yale University, Wake Forest University, Georgetown University and the University of Texas at Austin received the letters, Politico reported.
The scam allegedly involved cheating on the SAT and ACT college entry exams and bribing college athletic coaches. Authorities charged at least 50 people, including “Full House” star Lori Loughlin and “Desperate Housewives” actress Felicity Huffman.
The Education Department is examining whether the institutions violated rules “governing the Federal student financial aid programs” or other laws, according to Politico. Punishment could include stopping an institution from receiving federal student loans and Pell Grants, a form of financial aid for low-income students.
“The allegations made and evidence cited by the Department of Justice raise questions about whether your institution is fully meeting its obligations,” an Education Department official wrote, Politico reported. (RELATED: Yale Rescinds Admission Of One Student Allegedly Linked To College Bribery Scandal)
The scandal was first revealed on March 12. Federal officials accused William Rick Singer of cheating the college entrance exam system to help parents get their children into elite schools. Singer allegedly ran and used his purported charity Key Worldwide Foundation (KWF) in California to facilitate the bribes.
“Every student deserves to be considered on their individual merits when applying to college, and it’s disgraceful to see anyone breaking the law to give their children an advantage over others,” Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said on March 13, according to The Washington Post.
Twelve defendants allegedly involved in the scandal appeared in a Boston federal court Monday, USA Today reported. All defendants, including six former college athletic coaches and two test administrators, pleaded not guilty.
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