Leniency of Felicity Huffman Prison Sentence Reflects Entitlement and Privilege


Reilly Smith

Parents have been cheating their children’s futures through bribery and falsifying their ACT/SAT scores.

Mia Kritzer, Staff Reporter

On March 5th,  Desperate Housewives actress Felicity Huffman awoke to several FBI agents surrounding her Los Angeles home. 

Huffman was one of over 50 Division I college coaches, admissions counselors, and parents involved in the 2019 college admissions bribery scandal. Huffman and her husband, William H. Macy, paid $15,000 to have their daughter’s SAT scores corrected.

Wealthy families determined to have their children bask in the light of attending a prestigious college are inconsiderate to the opportunities they stole from middle to lower class kids, just trying to find success. The actions of those responsible are significant because privileged people use their wealth to cheat their way to their children’s futures; robbing hard-working, honest, qualified applicants out of what they deserve.

This infamous scheme began when known college advisor, Rick Singer, utilized his connections to admit children of wealthy families into prestigious universities across America. He concealed his profits through his non-profit organization,“The Key.”

Singer made his living by his network of rich parents paying an average of $20,000 to have their children’s SAT and ACT scores revised. In early 2019, Singer received a phone call from Fuller House actress, Lori Laughlin.

Laughlin began to express her interest in Springer’s scheme to boost her daughter’s SAT scores so she could be admitted to USC. “So we, so we just—so we just have to say we made a donation to your foundation and that’s it, end of story?” she said in a phone call to Springer. Laughlin paid $500,000 to have both of her daughters admitted to University of Southern California as members of the crew team under false credentials. 

Within a year, the heist was debunked by federal investigators and Huffman found herself pleading guilty in a Boston courtroom to two counts of fraud. 

On May 13th, Springer pleaded guilty to money laundering, racketeering, obstruction of justice, and tax evasion. The 58 year old is reportedly facing up to 65 years in prison. 

Huffman was sentenced to 1 year probation, 250 hours of community service, and an appalling 14 days of jail time. 

In comparison, a Connecticut woman of color, Tanya McDowell, was sentenced to 5 years in prison for lying about her address in order to get her son into a different school district. However, after appeal, the sentence was overturned. 

The lack of disciplinary action taken against Huffman reflects the white privilege Huffman depended on to save her from her wrongdoings, as well as her ability to escape justice because of financial advantage and celebrity status. 

If these are the drastic decisions parents are making to eliminate their children’s collegiate competition, it speaks to the current dysfunctional, disastrous, and stress-inducing state of college admissions. 

If this operation was to take place without detection for years, we must look to college administrations to eliminate members of faculty who have demonstrated corrupt actions. The justice system must also administer a punishment that will suffice to the families of those who were affected, to prevent a similar situation in the future.

Every parent, coach, and college admissions officer owes extreme debts for the education they stole from students seriously committed to academics; students who worked hard for what would have been their acceptance letter into their dream school. The greed and corruption of the wealthy prevented skilled, rule-following individuals from experiencing the future they deserve.