Stanford students file class-action lawsuit over college admissions scandal

The universities caught up in the largest college admissions scandal ever prosecuted by the Department of Justice are now facing a class-action lawsuit.

Charges were announced earlier this week against 50 people, including coaches and dozens of parents, among them TV actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin.

Her complaint was filed in California Superior Court.

A Stanford degree, both students allege, is "now not worth as much as it was before, 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".

In their lawsuit, Stanford students Erica Olsen and Kalea Woods say they never would have wasted their money applying for elite schools like Yale if they had known they were "rigged by fraud". The lawsuit also named the University of California, Los Angeles, Wake Forest University, the University of San Diego, the University of Texas at Austin, Georgetown University and Stanford University.

Possible legal troubles for B.C. businessman caught up in U.S. scandal
Possible legal troubles for B.C. businessman caught up in U.S. scandal

Among other claims, the lawsuit said that the universities should have discovered the bribes and that their failure to do so through audits or other practices reflects "an unfair business practice". So why are they the primary focus of the media and public scolding rather than the parents who paid up to $6 million to ensure their child's admission?

Another lawsuit by Joshua Toy and his mother said he was denied college admission despite a 4.2 grade point average, and seeks $500bn of damages from 45 defendants for allegedly defrauding and inflicting emotional distress on everyone whose "rights to a fair chance" to enter college was stolen. In the largest known college admissions scandal in USA history, federal prosecutors said a California company charged parents to secure spots for their children in elite schools, including Stanford. She paid an $80 application fee and was rejected, and says the admissions scam shows she "did not receive what she paid for - a fair admissions consideration process".

Two lawsuits filed on Thursday seek over $500 billion in damages from top USA universities over revelations that Hollywood actresses and business leaders spent millions on a complex scheme to get their children accepted into prestigious universities.

The man who is accused of masterminding it, William "Rick" Singer, admitted in federal court he had helped the parents of 761 high school students cheat their way into college.

Vanessa Coleman