News

Stanford expels student in connection with college-fraud scheme

University cites false information in student's application

Stanford University has expelled a student who it determined had falsified his or her college application and who was connected to the nationwide college-admission fraud scheme, the university announced Tuesday.

In the April 2 statement, the university announced that "some of the material in the student's application is false and, in accordance with our policies, (we) have rescinded admission."

"Any credits earned have also been vacated," Stanford officials said. "The student is no longer on Stanford's campus."

In its announcement of the expulsion, the university alluded to a March 21 statement in which the university disclosed that it had identified a student who was associated with a contribution to Stanford from The Key Worldwide Foundation, the fraudulent organization that funneled money from parents to athletic coaches and administrators.

The university's former head sailing coach, John Vandemoer, has already been implicated in the scheme and was fired last month shortly after the federal indictment was announced. Vandemoer pleaded guilty to a federal charge of racketeering conspiracy.

According to Stanford, the student had not received a recommendation from any coach and has not been affiliated with the Stanford sailing program or any other athletic team.

The university did, however, deem that the student is "associated with a contribution to Stanford from the foundation in the government investigation." That contribution was made several months after the student was admitted, according to the university.

According to the Department of Justice investigation, the Stanford sailing program received three gifts totaling $770,000. Vandemoer acknowledged that he had accepted these contributions to the sailing program in exchange for recommending two prospective students for admission to the university. Neither of these two had completed the application process and neither was admitted, according to Stanford.

Stanford has confirmed all students on the sailing team who received an athletic recommendation, dating back to 2011, had legitimate sailing experience before applying.

No students in this year's applicant pool are associated with a donation from The Key Worldwide Foundation, Stanford has said.

Late last month, Yale University became the first university to expel a student linked to the admissions scheme.

In response to the scandal, Stanford has announced a series of policy changes and is conducting a "comprehensive external review" of its process for admissions recommendations from the athletics department as well as how gifts to athletic programs are accepted.

To have more oversight over recruits recommended by coaches, Stanford Athletics now requires that a member of the executive leadership of the athletics department responsible review and confirm the athletic credentials of all recruits.

Related content:

• Listen to the March 15 episode of "Behind the Headlines," where Palo Alto college adviser John Raftrey discusses the implications of the nationwide admissions bribery scandal, now available on our YouTube channel and podcast.

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Comments

52 people like this
Posted by A Typical Dialogue
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 8, 2019 at 9:21 am

A suspected dialogue taking place among those involved in the college cheating scandal...

Student/Child: "You ruined my life. I hate you!"

Parent(s): "We only did this because we love you and wanted you to have all of the advantages in life."

OR

Student/Child: "We got busted. Now what?"

Parent(s): "We'll figure out something. Our lawyers are working on it."


OR

Parent(s): "Will we have to go to prison?"

Lawyer: "Probably not. This matter can be probably handled via a plea of 'no contest' and restitution if ordered by the court. At best you will be put on probation as you are not a threat to society."


20 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 8, 2019 at 9:42 am

Why were the parents in this case not criminally charged (and named in the press) like many other parents were?


43 people like this
Posted by john_alderman
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 8, 2019 at 9:58 am

john_alderman is a registered user.

@resident - Good question, it looks like the parents didn't donate to the fake charity, nor did they pay to cheat on the SAT, so no crime was committed. What is really interesting about this case is that the student was not expelled, not for a crime, but for lying about her extra curricular participation. I wonder how many other Stanford students worked with admission coaches and consultants to "embellish" their credentials? We could see half the student body expelled if they decide to look. I really hope this triggers some broad admission reform, because this just scratches the surface of the corruption, and is the root of secondary school misery.


35 people like this
Posted by Menlo Park
a resident of Menlo Park
on Apr 8, 2019 at 10:29 am

This is just PR in an attempt to restore a tarnished reputation. A reputation that is bought and paid for by wealthy Alumni. Stanford is no different than most private universities, it needs wealthy donors and the best way to attract them is to accept their kids. Goes for every Ivy too.


7 people like this
Posted by parent
a resident of Palo Verde
on Apr 8, 2019 at 11:21 am

@john_alderman: The article clearly states that the student's parents DID make a "contribution" to the fake charity: "The university did, however, deem that the student is 'associated with a contribution to Stanford from the foundation in the government investigation.' That contribution was made several months after the student was admitted, according to the university." Also, the article does not specify if the student is male or female, so it's not accurate to use "her" in your comment (unless you personally know the student).


6 people like this
Posted by Nancy
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 8, 2019 at 11:22 am

This doesn't seem right to expel the student. I am sure there is a group (with a bunch of letters...naahfgkdk, djjfhnfm,???) that will come to defend this person. It's not fair!


16 people like this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Apr 8, 2019 at 11:26 am

I demand six years of their tax returns.


2 people like this
Posted by Barbara
a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 8, 2019 at 11:31 am

What good news these students are being expelled. What's next for the parents?? Probably zilch! Or perhaps another donation to the University??


20 people like this
Posted by just one?
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 8, 2019 at 11:37 am

Just expelled one student! There are lots of these bad apples on campus. I bet applicants & parents still would take their chances to fake stuff.


12 people like this
Posted by Green Gables
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 8, 2019 at 11:58 am

Green Gables is a registered user.

Did Stanford return the $770,000? Seems only fair.


13 people like this
Posted by Green Gables
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 8, 2019 at 11:59 am

Green Gables is a registered user.

Did Stanford return the money contributed to the sailing group?


8 people like this
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 8, 2019 at 12:24 pm

This is good news, though handled privately - how convenient for those who bribed official(s) and mis-represented themselves in a competitive college admissions situation.

One of the funnier accounts I just read today is of a parent trying tomclaim they hadn’t paid thngs like a 200k fake donation to Singer - just “only” a $50,000 fee for “regular” college counseling services. Hilarious.

By the way, do our high schools no longer have counselors or a college/career center available to ea h and every student as part of their education!?


31 people like this
Posted by Most High School Counselors Are Useless
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 8, 2019 at 12:44 pm

. By the way, do our high schools no longer have counselors or a college/career center available to each and every student as part of their education!?

Most high school counselors are not very good at what they are supposed to be doing...advising students on vocational & academic decisions.

An M.A. in counseling does not make one a counselor...oftentimes the motivation to become a counselor stems from the added pay + an opportunity to sit behind a desk all day & go through perfunctory motions. In other words, it is a lazy man's job & not challenging at all.

This has been my personal experience with most high school counselors. The popular ones get by on personality but not much more because deep down inside, 99% of them don't really care about students.


12 people like this
Posted by Mark Weiss
a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 8, 2019 at 1:01 pm

Mark Weiss is a registered user.

We should be taxing the earnings on the endowments of the endowment universities like Stanford, according to Robert Reich of Cal


3 people like this
Posted by PA Parent
a resident of College Terrace
on Apr 8, 2019 at 4:55 pm

PA Parent is a registered user.

@Green Gables

Stanford President and Provost have said:
"we will ensure that Stanford will not benefit from the monies that were contributed to the Stanford sailing program as part of this fraudulent activity. We are working to determine the most appropriate way to redirect the funds to an entity unaffiliated with Stanford, consistent with the regulations governing such gifts and in cooperation with the government."


27 people like this
Posted by kind of sad
a resident of College Terrace
on Apr 8, 2019 at 5:03 pm

kind of sad is a registered user.

I think it's sad that this student was expelled on the basis of lying about extracurriculars. As someone-else said, if that's the criteria, half the class of every ivy and stanford, would have to go. There is so much BS in the system. Fake prizes, fake awards, fake non-profits, fake clubs, fake titles......

The crazy thing is how no-one seems to care about what's real and what's not anymore.... And so to make a point they're going to take it all out on a few kids.


16 people like this
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 8, 2019 at 7:12 pm

Nayeli is a registered user.

Stanford's incoming freshman class size each year is roughly 1,700 students. Out of that number, I wonder how many are athletes (with apparent preferential treatment) versus legacies or traditional non-legacy applicants?

If so many of those spots are reserved for athletes and legacy admissions, then the enormous number of applicants are vying for the remainder. That makes elite schools like Stanford even more competitive than the reputation in various magazines.

According to the Stanford website, there are roughly 900 student athletes currently participating for the school in intercollegiate sports. That's a fairly large ratio of the overall undergraduate student body of 7000 students.

That's certainly not a bad thing. However, this entire scandal illustrates the highly competitive nature of strictly academic admissions versus sport and legacy admissions.


20 people like this
Posted by Skeptical one
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Apr 8, 2019 at 8:58 pm

Stanford's President and Provost should be the ones to get "expelled." Pretending that the "donations" in this scandal were not a ploy used by the University to make $$$$ insults the intelligence of the public. Real justice would include Stanford paying taxes just like every other for-profit corporation. Stanford masquerading as a non-profit is on par with the scams pulled by Theranos and Facebook.


Like this comment
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Apr 8, 2019 at 9:41 pm

^ I think Stanford salaries ARE taxed just like every other for-profit corporation.


5 people like this
Posted by Skeptical one
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Apr 9, 2019 at 1:38 am

Yes, salaries paid with tax free revenue.


2 people like this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Apr 9, 2019 at 4:48 am

Salaries are always deductible from revenue. They are a business expense.


12 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Apr 9, 2019 at 6:48 am

We have many local agencies which not only tutor, but offer money back guarantees into top schools.
Back in 201, Chris Kenrick did an article about this for the Weekly.

Web Link.

This is now become big business in the US.
Many take advantage of our high schools and community colleges to bring students into this country via the immigration laws, and the education loophole associated with it.
Students from many countries have been taken advantage of - not only Asians, but Indian students as well.

Another local company I have heard about from my kids is this one.
Web Link

All of this has had a negative effect on our local students. The pressure, the abuse and over-prescription of Adderall, and the limited spaces available in our universities. It is leading many families to do rash things in the competition.

What can we do to end these businesses?


13 people like this
Posted by Another random observation
a resident of Stanford
on Apr 9, 2019 at 9:53 am

I think anyone who “embellished” their application should be expelled.

The resume situation is a pox on the work environment. I sometimes feel like a dupe because my resume is 100% accurate.

And that means most people are living a lie, trying to “get” what they can at the high cost of self respect.

That has deep ramifications in and out of work.

This problem starts early but gets steroids in the college application process.

Kick ‘em out.


16 people like this
Posted by Stanford : Dark and dirty
a resident of College Terrace
on Apr 9, 2019 at 2:13 pm

I know of low performing offspring of a Stanford professor who was accepted into the MBA program. I also know of a Stanford professor whose sexual misconduct got so bad that Stanford threatened to leak his story if he didn't behave and on and on. Expelling ONE student is laughable.


3 people like this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Apr 9, 2019 at 3:53 pm

Good thing nobody embellishes their online dating profiles.


Like this comment
Posted by Another random observation
a resident of Stanford
on Apr 9, 2019 at 4:06 pm

Re: online dating - not part of that; married before that became popular.

So how does that work? People meet and recognize misrepresentation in profiles and just go with the flow?

I take your point. This is bigger than college admissions or resumes and has probably been around as long as language.


5 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Apr 9, 2019 at 5:53 pm

In 2015, it was reported in Inside Higher Ed, and the New York Post (2/18), that an East Coast educational consultant charged a woman in Vietnam 1.5 million dollars to get her daughter into a U.S. college.
The outrageous charges were made known when the consultant took the woman to court for not paying their full fees.

Web Link


Web Link

These “consulting firms” should be illegal.
Although we can’t control what goes on in other countries, we should attempt to shut down them down in the states.






3 people like this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Apr 9, 2019 at 10:19 pm

Shouldn't be surprised. Everything is for sale. Wealthy people don't need to wait in line like immigrants. USCIS (Citizenship and Immigration Services) even has a form for that: EB-5.


2 people like this
Posted by Richman
a resident of College Terrace
on Apr 9, 2019 at 11:28 pm

Most universities have a reserved pool for helping disadvantage students to get admitted. There should be a similar official (not based on bribery) pool for purchasing admission provided the students pass some minimum qualification (for instance, 5% of total admission). The money raised from the latter program can be used to provide scholarships and opportunities for poor but deserving students. This sounds like a win-win policy for everyone and a way to tax rich people.


2 people like this
Posted by rsmithjr
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 10, 2019 at 6:55 am

rsmithjr is a registered user.

Most services that help students with admissions are quite legit. Of course more affluent students will get more help. There is help for less affluent students.

Students who have cheated are a different story and should be dealt with. An 18-year-old who robs a gas station is likely to be treated harshly. Being expelled for falsifying admissions documents should at least result in expulsion IMHO.


16 people like this
Posted by Jim H
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 10, 2019 at 8:51 am

Jim H is a registered user.

@musical,
You wrote, "Wealthy people don't need to wait in line like immigrants."

You don't need to be wealthy, you can just come into the country illegally and attend. In many states, including California, you can get in-state tuition even if you're not a resident of the country.

It's not just the rich that are taking advantage of the system.


11 people like this
Posted by Bill Bucy
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 10, 2019 at 10:03 am

Bill Bucy is a registered user.

I doubt a Stanford undergraduate education - delivered largely by harried grad students and hungry adjuncts - is so superior to those at many other schools. What parents are buying is the name at the top of the diploma which brands their children - and them - as successful and ever so special.


7 people like this
Posted by Much Ado About Nothingness
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 10, 2019 at 10:04 am

> Good thing nobody embellishes their online dating profiles.

I once tried to convince a colleague at work that the woman he was corresponding with on an online dating site was not who she appeared to be as per her posted pic & background info.

Turns out I was correct. When he finally met this individual for a casual dinner date, she bore absolutely no resemblance to Charlize Theron nor was she a world famous neuro-biologist & a former Miss Iceland.

Curious. Why do people lie on their online dating profiles & then actually go out on the date knowing that they will ventually be exposed as not being who they say they are?


1 person likes this
Posted by Charlene Margot
a resident of Menlo Park
on Apr 11, 2019 at 11:18 am

Charlene Margot is a registered user.

I find the comments by "Most High School Counselors Are Useless" to be ill-informed, unfair, and incorrect.

In my experience (18 years working with local high schools in SUHSD and Palo Alto), the counselors -- especially the college advisers -- are extremely well-informed, hard-working, and dedicated to the success of the thousands of students they serve.


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