According to a recent article from ProPublica and New York magazine, the half-million dollars Lori Loughlin allegedly spent to bribe her daughters’ way into college might as well be a sack full of rusty nickels compared to what billionaires are willing to pay.
Hedge fund manager David E. Shaw and his wife, financial journalist Beth Kobliner, have allegedly created an entire foundation for the primary purpose of donating millions to Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Stanford, Columbia, and Brown in an effort to make the schools more friendly to their three children:
“Starting in 2011, when the oldest of their three children was about two years away from applying to college, the Shaw Family Endowment Fund donated $1 million annually to Harvard, Yale, Princeton and Stanford and at least $500,000 each to Columbia and Brown. The pattern persisted through 2017, the most recent year for which public filings are available, with a bump in giving to Columbia to $1 million a year in 2016 and 2017. The foundation, which lists Kobliner as president and Shaw as treasurer and secretary, has also contributed $200,000 annually to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology since 2013.
The total donations for “general” purposes across seven years and seven elite schools are $37.3 million, which represents 62% of the foundation’s giving over that period.”
While donating to colleges to ensure their offspring get accepted has been part of rich people’s playbook for making everything unfair since the first colleges were founded, what’s remarkable about Shaw is that most obscenely wealthy people focus on just one institution. Shaw wanted to make sure all the Ivies owed him a favor.
And the article also states that Shaw’s kids, who were privately educated at an “elite prep school” and also had access to tutors, probably didn’t even need the help, as they were “by all accounts excellent students.” They also may have had legacy status at Stanford, where their father went to grad school, and would have most likely been given special consideration as the children of former faculty at Columbia, where Shaw once taught. Two of the three children attended Yale, while the third is still in high school.
Though the donations might appear to be overkill, they are seemingly part of a pattern for Shaw, who reportedly uses his $7 billion fortune to ensure he never has to encounter any sort of inconvenience, which to be fair, is probably how I would spend it as well. The article says Shaw has an entire team of highly-educated assistants to experience annoyance on his behalf:
“It was company lore that before Shaw traveled, an assistant would take the exact same trip — same car service, same airport, same seat on the plane — to eliminate any inefficiencies. Shaw has been said to purchase tickets for several different flights on the same day in case his plans change.”
Lori Loughlin allegedly doesn’t think the college admissions scandal “was any different than donating money for a library or athletic field,” which I guess only goes to show that she hasn’t been rich long enough because real rich people are way worse.