USC could expel students in admissions bribery scandal

Associated Press
This March 12, 2019 file photo shows the University Village area of the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.

Los Angeles – The University of Southern California says a review of students possibly connected to a college admissions bribery scandal could lead to expulsions.

The university said in a statement Monday it has placed holds on the accounts of those students, which prevents them from registering for classes or acquiring transcripts while their cases are under review.

USC says the students have been notified of reviews, and resulting actions could range up to revoking admission or expulsion.

A criminal case announced last week by federal prosecutors in Boston alleges an admissions cheating scheme targeting USC and other prestigious schools including Stanford, Georgetown and Yale.

Prosecutors say wealthy parents either paid bribes to have a college counselor rig standardized tests or get their children admitted as recruits of sports they didn’t play.

More than half the 32 parents charged were trying to bribe their children’s way into USC, prosecutors said.

They include actress Lori Loughlin and her fashion designer husband, Mossimo Giannulli, who allegedly paid $500,000 to have their two daughters labeled as crew team recruits.

USC’s response to the scandal has mirrored other colleges that moved rapidly to distance themselves from employees who were allegedly involved, tried to shore up confidence in their admissions systems, and sought to identify donations that may be involved.

The university announced last week that applicants in the current admissions cycle who were connected to the alleged scheme will be denied admission.