I read the FBI affidavit in the Boston part of the case and can correct some bad reporting out there. Most of the students did not know their parents were cheating for them. One poor slob did so much better on the SAT the second time (with the bribed proctor) he thought he’d gotten smarter and wanted to take it again. How must he feel now that he knows he is as dumb as he first thought? Many of the kids did know. Some were coached on answers during the exam. One didn’t even show up for the exam. Another showed up for only one day of the 2-day exam.
Some, maybe most, of the coaches did not take the bribes for their own personal enrichment. They had the checks made out to the school account for their athletic program. The money was then used for scholarships, equipment, expenses, etc. of the program. I’m not justifying it, but it’s not a whole lot different from a rich alumni donating a building and getting his child in that way, the so-called “legacy” students. In both cases, a deserving student is denied admission because of the clunker, but the school benefits in a way. I was surprised at how often the child ended up not attending, or not even applying to the college that was bribed. In one case the parent got Singer (the ringleader) to consider the half a million bucks a deposit on a future child.
Most of the publicity is about the two actresses, the celebrity effect, but the vast majority of the cheating parents weren’t famous. Many were real estate developers (sound familiar?) or entrepreneurs. Quite a few were here in the Bay Area: Palo Alto, Atherton, San Francisco.