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Stanford Students File Class Action Lawsuit Over Admissions Scandal

Two Stanford University students have filed a lawsuit against their school, as well as as the University of Southern California, Yale University, the University of California Los Angeles and other colleges over the admissions bribery scandal, first reported Tuesday.

Erica Olsen from Henderson, Nev., and Kalea Woods from San Diego, are seeking class certification in their case, filed March 13 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, Bloomberg News reports. Olsen and Woods argue they were denied a fair opportunity to gain admission to elite institutions and say their Stanford degrees were devalued by criminal racketeering charges brought by federal prosecutors.

Prosecutors charged 50 people in the alleged scam to buy spots in the freshman classes at top universities, including Yale and Stanford. Thirty-three parents were charged, including Hollywood celebrities Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin, as well as prominent business leaders. The parents face charges they collectively paid $25 million to college admissions counselor William Singer.

Top college athletic coaches also are facing charges, accused of accepting millions of dollars to recruit the children as athletes, regardless of their athletic abilities.

The complaint filed by Olsen and Woods argues that “unqualified students found their way into the admissions rolls of highly selective universities, while those students who played by the rules and did not have college-bribing parents were denied admission.”

Olsen alleged in the complaint that she had “stellar” standardized test scores and athletic abilities and was rejected by Yale admissions, USA Today reports.

The lawsuit states: “Had she known that the system at Yale University was warped and rigged by fraud, she would not have spent the money to apply to the school. She also did not receive what she paid for—a fair admissions consideration process.”

Woods argued similarly that she “was never informed that the process of admission at [the University of Southern California] was an unfair, rigged process, in which parents could buy their way into the university through bribery and dishonest schemes.”