TUCSON, AZ (KOLD News 13) - The Department of Justice calls it the largest college admissions scam ever prosecuted.
The story is creating shockwaves across the country, including some of nation’s top schools like the University of Southern California and Stanford from the Pac-12.
While University of Arizona is not involved, KOLD News 13 wanted to see how college students there feel about what could be the reality of admissions when it comes to the “lifestyles of the rich and the famous.”
“On one hand it is the life we live in today but on the other hand, it is extremely infuriating to me," said Drew Fellows, a senior set to graduate this spring.
Fellows said he applied to more than a dozen schools nearly four years ago, a process that was stressful both mentally and financially, with his dad unemployed at the time.
“Education is a gateway, to social mobility and the fact that they are granted to people with already high social standards," Fellows said.
Those standards are now in the spotlight. According to federal authorities, parents are accused of paying an estimated $25 million in bribes.
“For every student admitted through fraud, an honest, genuinely talented student was rejected," U.S. Attorney Andrew E. Lelling said in a press conference Tuesday.
And that’s exactly how another group of friends at the U of A felt.
“I definitely think it just proves how much of a business colleges really are," freshman Sarah Cowherd said.
Cowherd and her friends talked about financial struggles many students deal with, like scholarships, FAFSA applications and part-time work.
“We work hard to get in these schools, it takes a lot of work and dedication to be able to get up there to that spot instead of just paying our way through it," Nateya Brooks said.
“It just shows that if you have wealth in this country than it means that you are guaranteed to have a good life. Granted every student deserves a good life, but in this fact that it’s granted for only a few people, makes me so mad," Fellows said.