College admissions cheating scandal prompts big reactions from Kaplan, Princeton Review, The College Board
News of the largest college admissions bribery scandal in history not only shook up the country, it sent shivers to the entire U.S. test prep industry, which generates billions of dollars per year, according to research data.
A slew of business executives and two high-profile Hollywood actresses are among the 50 people charged in a $25 million cheating scheme to help wealthy students get into top colleges across the country.
Kaplan, one of the country’s biggest test prep corporations told FOX Business that it's “appalled” at the news.
“We know firsthand from working with hundreds of thousands of students annually how much effort most students put into their studies, and they should feel confident that they are being evaluated based on their own hard work, merit, and overall quality of their application,” a Kaplan spokesperson said.
Additionally, it added that a few years ago, it conducted a phone survey of over 400 college admissions officers and found that 25 percent of them admitted that they have “felt pressured” to accept an applicant who didn’t meet their school’s admissions requirements because of “who that applicant was connected to.”
The Princeton Review, which is another big player in the space, had a similar reaction to the news.
In a statement to FOX Business, Robert Franek, editor-in-chief for The Princeton Review, said the allegation are “abhorrent and appalling."
“As providers of test prep resources to millions of students and for over 35 years, we also find the allegations of cheating on SAT and ACT exams exceptionally disturbing,” he said.
“It is flat-out illegal to alter a student’s standardized test answers, and we hope those who are guilty of such behaviors are prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”
Franek added that the colleges themselves are also victims and their admission standards will “naturally be eroded by these developments."
Lastly, The College Board, which is the nonprofit that was formed more than 100 years ago as the developer and administer of college standardized tests, also reacted to Tuesday's news.
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“Today’s arrests resulting from an investigation conducted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Massachusetts send a clear message that those who facilitate cheating on the SAT – regardless of their income or status – will be held accountable," it said in a statement, adding that it has "a comprehensive, robust approach to combat cheating, and it plans to work closely with law enforcement as part of those efforts.
"We will always take all necessary steps to ensure a level playing field for the overwhelming majority of test takers who are honest and play by the rules.”