On Tuesday, TV stars Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin — as well as a slew of other high-profile individuals — were indicted in a college admissions scam. The purported ringleader of this scam, William "Rick" Singer, allegedly helped parents get their children into college using fraudulent means, and made a hefty profit doing so. Thanks to TMZ, we now know that this scam wasn't his only attempt at making money off of college acceptance anxieties.
Per a video acquired by TMZ, Singer reportedly submitted a reality TV show pitch via a production company in 2010 that was all about his work as a college admissions coach.
"This is a game," says Singer in the video, before adding: "My job is to life coach kids and families through the whole process of getting into college. It's unbelievable. It's so competitive to get your kid into school today."
Singer is the owner of the Edge College & Career Network, also known as The Key, a for-profit college prep company.
In the video, Singer claims that, thanks to his job, he's witnessed a lot of stress over the college application process.
"This process brings out the good, and a lot of the bad, that goes on in family homes," Singer claims, stating that parents will hear about a student with a 3.4 GPA who is "going to Harvard" and push their child to do the same.
He stresses that these days, donating money to a school isn't enough to secure your child's placement. (Donating large sums to a university to move the needle on your child's acceptance isn't technically illegal, unlike the fraud that Singer is accused of.)
"At some schools, giving $10 million [USD] isn't enough [to get your child accepted,]" adds Singer. "They want $30, $40, $50 million."
Singer claims in the video that some wealthy parents will summon him via a private plane, just for his expertise.
"After all this chaos, the payoff is knowing that these kids found the right place to go to school," Singer says at the end of the video.
The reality TV show never made it to a network.
In 2014, Singer released the help guide Getting In: Gaining Admission To Your College of Choice. Singer pleaded guilty Tuesday to four felony counts and will have to pay millions to the feds.
Public interviews with those involved in the case makes the situation all the more bizarre.
In an interview with Parade in 2016, Shameless star William H. Macy, spouse of Huffman, echoed Singer's comments about the stressful pre-college process.
"[Our daughter is] going to go to college," he told the outlet. "We’re right now in the thick of college application time, which is so stressful."
Loughlin also spoke of the college process when her daughter, Instagram influencer Isabella Rose Giannulli, was getting ready to head to school.
"I think I'm in complete denial [about her going to college,]" Loughlin said on TODAY in 2017. "When I think about it too much, it will make me cry." Loughlin's other daughter, Olivia Jade Giannulli, came under fire in 2018 for claiming she only wanted to go to school for "game days" and "partying."
Stress make people do strange things, like allegedly pay their kid's way into college.