How Broken The College Admissions Process Is (HBO)

The Justice Department charged 33 parents on Tuesday in a massive cheating and bribing scheme to get their kids into elite colleges. Federal investigators charged 50 people in all, indicting test administrators, athletic coaches and a number of wealthy parents from across the country, including actresses Lori Loughin from Full House and Felicity Huffman from Desperate Housewives. So far, they have not made a comment about the charges.

According to investigators the scam, dubbed Operation Varsity Blues by the FBI, revealed a wide-ranging web of bribery and fraud, including cheating on admissions exams, faking involvement in sports by photoshopping students onto the bodies of athletes and even falsifying learning disabilities.

The pressure to get into elite institutions is high, and the main gatekeepers to these competitive universities are admissions officers.

Sara Harberson, a former Associate Dean of Admissions for UPENN and former Dean of Admissions at Franklin and Marshall College told us, “What would always helps students if they were tagged and their family had a lot of financial resources. You were really looking at seven figure donations 8 figure donations. But sometimes six figures plus a connection with someone on the board was even more powerful.”

VICE News spoke to five of them to find out what it’s really like behind a process that remains closed to most people.

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ShowBiz Minute: Franklin, Swift, Tebow

(11 Jan 2019) Aretha Franklin biopic moves ahead with director and writer; Taylor Swift is highest earner in concert tours in 2018; Tim Tebow announces engagement to former Miss Universe. (Jan. 11)

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ShowBiz Minute: Brown, Whitaker, Franklin

(28 Dec 2018) Chris Brown charged with monkey-related misdemeanors; Forest Whitaker files for divorce; Aretha Franklin’s estate has paid $3 million in back taxes. (Dec. 28)

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ShowBiz Minute: Franklin, Bannon, Goldblum

(4 Sep 2018) The late Aretha Franklin’s family found eulogy by Atlanta pastor offensive and distasteful; The New Yorker drops plans to interview Steve Bannon during its festival next month; Jeff Goldblum surprised by giant statue in London. (Sept. 4)

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ShowBiz Minute: Franklin, U2, US Box Office

(3 Sep 2018) Aretha Franklin funeral eulogy slammed; pastor stands firm; U2 reschedules Berlin concert after Bono loses voice; “Crazy Rich Asians” banks another crazy rich weekend in North America. (Sept. 3)

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Franklin funeral bishop apologizes to Grande

(1 Sep 2018) The bishop who officiated Aretha Franklin’s funeral apologizes to Ariana Grande for how he touched her onstage and a joke he made about her name. (Sept. 1)

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Franklin funeral a ‘celebration of black culture’

(31 Aug 2018) AP Global Entertainment Editor Nekesa Mumbi Moody, who built a relationship with Aretha Franklin over the years, called the singer’s funeral service “a celebration of black culture” — that was as long as it needed to be. (Aug. 31)

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AP Top Stories August 31 P

(31 Aug 2018) Here’s the latest for Friday, August 31th: Aretha Franklin’s funeral held in Detroit; Washington, D.C. says goodbye to Senator John McCain; Canadian FM says no trade deal yet with U.S.; The Welsh Guard honors Franklin at Buckingham Palace.

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ShowBiz Minute: Franklin, Depardieu, Rossum

(31 Aug 2018) A star-studded concert celebrates the life and legacy of Aretha Franklin ahead of her funeral; Prosecutors open investigation into a woman’s rape and sexual assault allegations against Gerard Depardieu; Emmy Rossum will leave ‘Shameless’ after the show’s upcoming ninth season. (Aug. 31)

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