The $25 million parents spent on bribes could pay for over 3,000 students to attend community college for free

The indictment of roughly 50 people in a scheme to use bribing and cheating to guarantee certain wealthy students spots at specific colleges is just one — albeit extreme — example of the millions of dollars spent regularly to ensure a small share of college students have a successful experience.

Most students aren’t so lucky.

Parents allegedly paid $25 million parents to William “Rick” Singer, the college counselor who facilitated the scheme, to bribe athletic coaches to reserve spots for their kids. That money could pay for 3,871 low-income students to attend community college for free for year. That’s according to Debbie Cochrane, the executive vice president of the Institute for College Access and Success, an equity-focused think tank, who made the observation on Twitter this week.

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