Two Stanford University students have filed a class action lawsuit against the University of Southern California, Yale University and the other elite colleges embroiled in the college admission scandal. The students claimed the schools denied them a fair opportunity for admission, and as a result of the cheating scheme, their degrees have been devalued, federal officials revealed Tuesday.
Students Erica Olson and Kalea Woods filed the class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on Wednesday, which is just one day after Felicity Huffman, Lori Loughlin and other high-profile parents were indicted for bribing college officials to accept their children.
The lawsuit seeks $5,000,001, an amount which lawyers estimate will be needed for thousands of plaintiffs who fit the criteria to also join the suit, reported the Associated Press.
The University of San Diego, the University of Texas at Austin, Wake Forest, Georgetown, Stanford, Yale, USC as well as the scheme's ringleader, William “Rick” Singer, were all named as defendants in the lawsuit.
Olson and Woods said they weren’t given a fair opportunity for admission into the schools because there were students who were granted admission based on fake athletic and academic merit.
As part of the scam, Singer took money from parents and helped their children cheat on entrance exams and SATs or bribed coaches to recruit them for athletics programs.
“Each of the universities were negligent in failing to maintain adequate protocols and security measures in place to guarantee the sanctity of the college admissions process, and to ensure that their own employees were not engaged in these type of bribery schemes,” the complaint stated. "Unqualified students found their way into the admissions rolls of highly selective universities, while those students who played by the rules and did not have college-bribing parents were denied admission."
The suit also stated that if Olson knew Yale University's admission system was "warped and rigged by fraud," she would not have wasted her money on the application fee.
"She was never informed that the process of admission was an unfair, rigged process, in which rich parents could buy their way into the university through bribery," the suit stated.
Although the two plaintiffs were legitimately accepted to Stanford, where they currently attend, they believe their degrees have been devalued: “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.”
Stanford University also admitted students who allegedly gained acceptance letters through Singer’s “side door” method.
On Tuesday, Singer pleaded guilty to charges of racketeering and money laundering.