Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said Wednesday that she plans to investigate whether Education Department regulations were violated in a sprawling college admissions scandal.
Her comments come a day after 50 people — including coaches, parents, a private college consultant and a private school test preparation director — were charged in connection with an alleged scheme to get wealthy, well-connected children into elite schools. The arrests come as the result of a far-reaching FBI investigation named Operation Varsity Blues.
DeVos said Wednesday that she was dismayed by the scandal and planned to take action.
“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,” DeVos said. “The department is looking closely at this issue and working to determine if any of our regulations have been violated.”
Those charged include actors Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman. Loughlin is alleged to have paid $500,000 in bribes to help her daughters pose as athletic recruits so they could get into the University of Southern California. Huffman is charged with paying $15,000 to have someone correct her daughter’s answers on her SAT exam. More than 30 other parents are charged with taking similar steps, including bribing athletic coaches and paying for doctored SAT exams to boost their children’s chances of admission.
This would not be the first time President Trump’s administration has investigated college admissions. The Justice Department opened reviews of Harvard and Yale last year over allegations that their admissions processes discriminated against Asian American students. The administration has also backed a lawsuit filed by affirmative action opponents against Harvard.