College Bribery Scandal

Felicity Huffman sentenced to 14 days in prison in college admissions scandal

Actress Felicity Huffman is escorted by Police into court on May 13, 2019 in Boston, Massachusetts.
Actress Felicity Huffman escorted by police into court on May 13 in Boston, Massachusetts. Photo: Getty Images/ Joseph Prezioso / AFP

U.S. District Judge Indira Talwani sentenced actress Felicity Huffman on Friday to 14 days in prison, a $30,000 fine, a year of supervised probation and 250 hours of community service in part of what authorities have called the largest college admissions scam ever prosecuted by the Justice Department, per the AP.

Why it matters: Huffman is now the first parent to be sentenced of 34 charged in the admissions scandal led by consultant William Singer. The federal investigation, dubbed "Operation Varsity Blues," characterized the scheme as involving corrected admissions test scores, falsified student achievements and disabilities and bribed college coaches and administrators at prominent universities.

The financial risks parents take to pay for college

In this image, a woman wears a gown with a sash and folded dollar bills.
A graduating student wears a money lei on June 14, in Pasadena, California. Photo: Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

Most middle-class parents view paying for college as a moral obligation, not just a budgetary challenge, according to new research by New York University associate professor Caitlin Zaloom, the New York Times reports.

Driving the news: Even when money isn't a problem, Operation Varsity Blues illustrates that some parents will go to great, possibly illegal lengths to secure the "right" school for their children. Wealthy parents — dentistry professors, doctors, executives, actors and lawyers — funded what the DOJ has called the biggest admissions scam in U.S. history, to secure spots for their kids at the University of Texas, Yale, Georgetown and other schools.