LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – The Department of Education is investigating UCLA, USC and six other universities to determine whether they conducted any acts of wrongdoing in relation to the college admissions bribery scandal.
Politico reported Monday that the Education Department sent letters to the eight schools – which include the University of San Diego, Yale, Wake Forest, Stanford, Georgetown and the University of Texas at Austin – to determine whether schools violated any laws “governing the Federal student financial aid programs” or “any other applicable laws.”
Violations could result in penalties such as losing access to Pell Grants and federal student loan programs, Politico reports.
As part of the investigation, the universities were ordered to provide a list of the names of all students whose admission was brought up in the Justice Department’s investigation.
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has called the scandal “disgraceful” and urged her department to determine if any of the agency’s regulations had been violated.
USC last week said it was conducting a case-by-case review of current students and graduates who may be connected to the scandal and they will make informed decisions about those cases as the reviews are completed.
On March 12, about 50 people were federally indicted in a widespread and sophisticated college admission bribery scheme in which parents were accused of paying off college coaches and standardized testing administrators millions of dollars in order to get their children into elite universities. Among those indicted were Hollywood actresses Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman.
The mastermind of the scheme was a Newport Beach businessman known as Rick Singer. He has already pled guilty in the case.
The racketeering conspiracy case includes 33 parents and nine college coaches. Parents charged in the alleged scheme are accused of paying Singer a total of $25 million between 2011 and February 2019 for the arrangement.
Loughlin and her husband Mossimo Giannulli, the founder of clothing brand Mossimo are accused of paying $500,000 in bribes so their two daughters would be designated as recruits to the USC crew team, even though neither ever rowed crew.
Court documents say Huffman paid $15,000 she disguised as a charitable donation so her daughter could partake in a college entrance cheating scam.
Both Huffman and Loughlin were released from custody after posting bail and were ordered to appear in federal court in Boston on March 29.
UCLA men’s soccer coach Jorge Salcedo, who is charged with conspiracy to commit racketeering for his alleged participation in the scheme, resigned last week. Salcedo, who had been UCLA’s coach since 2004, had been on leave since March 12 when federal authorities announced indictments in the case.
USC last week fired senior associate athletic director Donna Heinel and USC water polo coach Jovan Vavic, who were among those indicted in the case.
Salcedo and Vavic were among several coaches who appeared in Boston federal court Monday, where they all plead not guilty, according to The Associated Press.
(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)