Education Dept. to review possible federal violations in college scheme

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said her department is reviewing whether any Education Department regulations were violated in connection with the college admission bribery scheme laid out by prosecutors this week.

In a statement, DeVos called the alleged actions by the parents “disgraceful.”

“Every student deserves to be considered on their individual merits when applying to college and it’s disgraceful to see anyone breaking the law to give their children an advantage over others,” DeVos said. “The department is looking closely at this issue and working to determine if any of our regulations have been violated.”

The nationwide scandal revealed Tuesday in multiple indictments rekindled conversations about fairness in and access to higher education, where the ability to pay, legacy status, and other connections have long played a role in admission.

DeVos did not specify what potential violations her department would explore.

But the department investigates anti-discrimination standards for schools, oversees the organizations that accredit colleges and universities, and regulates eligibility and rules for federally-funded financial aid programs.

The man behind the alleged scheme took payments from parents to either cheat on standardized admission tests or bribe coaches to recruit students, according to prosecutors. Dozens were charged, and several schools have said they dismissed or are investigating their staffers.