BOSTON (CBS) – Samuel Cintra has always known he’d go to college. “I want to go to school because I want a career. I want a better education. They’re just doing it for the clout,” he said, referring to students’ parents accused of paying for their kids to get into elite colleges.

Cintra plans to attend Denison University next year on a full ride scholarship. But like many of his fellow students at Cathedral High School in Boston’s South End, his options were limited, since he needed financial aid. He felt that ruled out schools TV stars Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman and others allegedly got their kids into through bribes and cheating schemes. “I probably wouldn’t get into those elite schools because my parents don’t have the money or the power that other kids have,” said Cintra.

Students at Cathedral High School in Boston (WBZ-TV)

That feeling of inequity has now prompted the first class action lawsuit against some of those schools, and against William “Rick” Singer, who pleaded guilty in Boston Federal Court Tuesday. He owns college admission prep companies accused of disguising payments and bribe money as charitable donations.

Attorneys filed the lawsuit Thursday on behalf of seven plaintiffs. It accuses schools of “turning a blind eye to rampant bribery,” and says one plaintiff “was so upset she did not get into her chosen school she had an emotional breakdown and needed to be hospitalized in Boston.”

William “Rick” Singer leaves Boston Federal Court after being charged with in admissions scam (Photo by Scott Eisen/Getty Images)

We contacted that woman, who told us she’s now decided to remove herself from the suit. Her mother is also named as a plaintiff.

The Head of Cathedral High, Dr. Oscar Santos, hopes the case leads to change. “This was something that struck at the core of what I would say the American dream, where regardless, our philosophy and our mantra as a nation has always been work hard and you’ll be successful…that’s why it really bothered me so much.”

Christina Hager

  1. Gabriel Paci says:

    Colleges and Universities must be held accountable. Fair and transparent admission policies are the schools’ responsibility. Auditing these processes should have turned up some of these irregularities. I propose that federal funding be withheld from any school that doesn’t have in place a fair admission system with no special privileges for anyone at anytime. Taxpayers should not be funding private schools that don’t provide opportunity for all and special privileges for none.