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The Olivia Jade college scandal: does university bribery happen in the UK?

The world shunned Lori Loughlin when she bribed the University of Southern California (USC) with $500,000 to admit her daughters.

Is this more common than we think?

View this post on Instagram

another unforgettable evening ?@wcrfcure

A post shared by OLIVIA JADE (@oliviajade) on

Back in March 2019, the news broke that 40 people, including actress Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman, had bribed top US colleges with hundreds of thousands of pounds to admit their children. This nationwide scam has caused an international uproar as furious students send the main target, Olivia Jade, hundreds of hateful comments.

One comment reads: "@princesspollyboutique needs to drop this scamming silver spoon-fed twat. Do you really want your brand associated with this amoral embarrassment to hard-working students everywhere?"

Olivia, Loughlin's daughter, has since disabled her comments and gone AWOL on Instagram. She has been laying low with boyfriend, Jackson Guthy, to avoid backlash.

After being shunned by the internet, the social media influencer has reportedly not been speaking to her mother. However, many people are sceptical about whether she knew what her mother was doing or not, and many found it hard to believe that she didn't know. Olivia found out about the college scandal when on a yacht in the Bahamas partying with a member of the USC board committee and his daughter.

Olivia has been dropped from many deals, including her Olivia Jade X Sephora highlighting palette which was discontinued shortly after release. Brands also dropped her after the news broke. These include Amazon, Dolce & Gabbana, Marc Jacobs Beauty, Smashbox Beauty Cosmetics, Boohoo, and TRESemmé.

The question is, has this type of bribery been happening at UK universities?

Rich privilege in UK universities has been proven to exist. UCAS figures show that there is a gap between richer and poorer students going to better universities. The difference peaked at 16.7% in 2016; although this could have been partially caused by the Tory government scrapping maintenance grants for the poorer students, it is possible that bribing is happening here too?

A study by NEON shows that Oxford and Cambridge have lower than 3% of poorer white students. They also found that more than half of universities in England admit less than 5% of white students from deprived areas. Among poorer white people, over 70% of these people go to newer universities. Could this indicate a pattern?

The internet is struggling to decide where to lay the blame in this situation. The simple truth is that the society we live in allows the rich to excel in all aspects of life, whether it is fair or not. It is very likely that this situation occurs every year in the UK too.

Let us know what you think in the comments, do you think that university bribery happens in the UK too?

Featured image: Kathy Hutchins /