A different kind of college scam is now making headlines: some school registrars across the nation might be taking bribes for in-state tuition. A former official at Delaware State University has admitted to accepting more than $70,000 in bribes for giving students a financial break by offering them in-state tuition even though they were out of state residents. The scheme cost the school an estimated $3 million in tuition loss and ran from 2013 to 2017.
Former registrar Crystal Martin pleaded guilty to one single felony count and now faces up to 10 years in prison. She is being accused of taking money to classify out of state students as in-state residents in order to save money on tuition costs. Martin worked as an associate registrar at the university until she was fired in 2017.
Those who are not residents of the state of Delaware pay up to $16,904 for their yearly tuition at the University of Delaware for the current school year. In-state residents pay $7,868. The school is considered to be one of the nation’s top-ranked historically black universities.
Martin allegedly forged documents and accepted bribes from a co-conspirator in exchange for changing the registration status for hundreds of students at the university. She altered residency documents that allowed students to receive an in-state rate for their tuition.
“The defendant abused her position at a public university to personally profit and to defraud her employer,’’ U.S. Attorney David Weiss said in a statement, according to NBC News. “Individuals who accept bribes while serving in a public capacity risk undermining trust in those institutions.’’
This isn’t the only college scam making headlines these days. Hollywood actresses Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman have also been indicted on several accounts for allegedly paying bribes in order to help their daughters get admitted into their school of choice or help them cheat on their college admissions exams.
Huffman is currently facing up to 10 months in prison while Loughlin, along with her husband Mossimo Giannulli, is facing up to 40 years in prison. While Huffman has so far pled guilty, Loughlin and Giannulli are hoping to negotiate some kind of plea deal that will keep them out of prison.
Akin Adepoju, an assistant federal public defender who represents Martin, has so far made no comments to the press. The University of Delaware has also declined to make any statements or comments about the case.