October 2nd, 2019

CNN’s Fareed Zakaria Examines Elite College Admissions From the Inside Premieres Sunday, Oct. 20

SCHEME and SCANDAL: Inside the College Admissions Crisis debuts Sunday, Oct. 20 at 9:00pm ET & PT on CNN & CNN International

As hearings and verdicts continue in the biggest cheating scandal in American history, the FBI’s “Varsity Blues” scam cases, CNN’s Fareed Zakaria examines how the college admissions process became so broken.  SCHEME and SCANDAL: Inside the College Admissions Crisis, a Fareed Zakaria Special, will premiere Sunday, Oct. 20 at 9:00pm on CNN and CNN International.

In a desperate quest for higher test scores and to create more accomplished student profiles, Zakaria investigates how some students and their parents have turned to criminal rigging of their applications in their pursuit of entrance to the most in-demand colleges.  Zakaria reports on lesser-known cases of outrageous cheating that did not make the headlines: paying bribes to coaches, admissions officers, and other school officials, hiring standardized test takers, obtaining false diagnoses to secure more time for testing, and more.

Going further, Zakaria also reports on the legal ways that some families game the system, through legacy alumni evaluation, targeted major donations, and hiring private advisors – an unregulated profession of college counselors for hire that advise families on shaping the most advantageous applications, sometimes for fees reaching a million dollars or more.

Experts and authors who have closely explored admission trends and data, and an executive from a college counseling firm are interviewed for the special.  Zakaria also interviews students at Kentucky’s no-tuition Berea College, founded to offer a high-quality education to economically-disadvantaged students in pursuit of their American dreams.  And, he traces the history of college admissions, learning how the SAT was initially designed to level the playing field for students that wanted access to the most elite institutions, previously reserved for rich and white applicants.   Ultimately, Zakaria asks: can college admissions truly be based upon merit?

During the premiere, SCHEME and SCANDAL: Inside the College Admissions Crisis will stream live for subscribers via CNNgo (www.CNN.com/go and via CNNgo apps for AppleTV, Roku, Amazon Fire, Chromecast, Samsung Smart TV, and Android TV) and on the CNN mobile apps for iOS and Android.

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