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Lori Loughlin "Privately" Paid Two Students' $500,000 College Tuition Fees And It's Sparked A Debate

Loughlin served two months in prison after she and her husband pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges for paying bribes of $500,000 to get their daughters into USC.

Posted on October 28, 2021, at 11:35 a.m. ET

Lori Loughlin is reportedly hoping to "put the past behind her" before her return to screens in December.

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It was reported this week that Loughlin has "privately" covered the costs of two students' college tuition fees, amounting to $500,000 in total, less than a year after she was released from prison.

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"Lori Loughlin has privately arranged to put two students through four years of college, and has paid their tuition and the expenses totaling over $500,000," a source told Entertainment Tonight yesterday.

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Reports claim that the gesture was not a part of Loughlin's plea deal, but instead a personal decision that she carried out in private. At this time, there is no additional information about who the students are or why they were chosen.

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A spokesperson for Lori Loughlin told BuzzFeed News that details of the donations were given in court documents when she was sentenced last year.

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Loughlin's donation is equal to the $500,000 sum she and her husband paid in bribes as part of their involvement in the college admissions scandal, for which they were both arrested in March 2019.

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In case you need a reminder of what went down, the scandal — dubbed "Operation Varsity Blues" — saw Loughlin and her husband, designer Mossimo Giannulli, exposed as a part of a wider group of wealthy individuals who, under the organization of ringleader Rick Singer, bribed their children into elite colleges, including Stanford, Yale, USC, and UCLA.

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A year after their arrests in May 2020, the couple pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges after they were accused of paying $500,000 in bribes to Singer's purported charity and university officials to ensure that their daughters — Olivia Jade, 22, and Isabella Rose, 23 — were accepted into USC.

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With the help of the Giannulli family, Singer composed false student-athlete profiles to help the girls get accepted into USC as rowing recruits despite neither of them having ever taken part in the sport.

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Last year, Loughlin received a sentence of two months in federal prison, a $150,000 fine, and 150 hours of community service.

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The Full House actor began her sentence in October last year and ultimately served nearly two months before being released in December. She is currently on a two-year supervised release.

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In September — just nine months after she was released from prison — Loughlin found herself at the center of criticism after it was announced that she would be returning to acting.

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After weeks of speculation, it was confirmed last month that the former When Calls the Heart actor would be reprising her role as Abigail Stanton from the Hallmark Channel series in the spinoff, When Hope Calls, for a two-part special premiering in December this year.

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And while fans of the actor were pleased to hear of her comeback, many who followed the college admissions scandal were disappointed to see that Loughlin had landed herself an acting gig so soon after her ~brief~ prison sentence, suggesting that she "faced no real repercussions" for her actions.

The issue isn’t her going back to work, because who wouldn’t. The issue is that she faced no real repercussions and her privilege had her job waiting for her with a bow on it https://t.co/jvXR3zjDcY

Twitter: @justtrawstTrent

Loughlin’s acting return was also declared by many as a clear example of how white people, particularly those in positions of power, are afforded more leniency and privilege than people of color, with one person calling the news “white privileged at [its] finest.”

White privileged at it finest https://t.co/2TsafxFPxX

Twitter: @kilisarthur

So, in light of her recent donations, it appears that Loughlin might be trying to make amends before her return to screens later this year.

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A source close to the actor told US Weekly on Tuesday that Loughlin "has served her time in jail and completed her probation, community service and paid all of her court fines," and is now hoping to "put the past behind her" with her latest act of goodwill.

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And another person hoping to put the past behind them is Loughlin's youngest daughter, Olivia Jade.

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The 22-year-old was ultimately one of the biggest names involved in the scandal, having forged a lucrative career as an influencer before her parents' crimes were exposed.

While it still isn't quite clear how much she knew about her parents’ actions, Olivia and her sister, Bella — who both posed on rowing machines to help bolster their false résumés — maintain that they were unaware of what was happening behind closed doors.

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And despite being one of many college students involved in the bribery scam, Olivia's prominence on social media meant that she was met with significantly more criticism than others when news of the arrests surfaced.

Two years later, Olivia — who is currently a contestant on Dancing With the Stars — is using her platform to speak candidly about her experience in hopes of moving on from the criticism.

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Talking with a psychotherapist in the first episode of her new podcast, Conversations With Olivia Jade, the beauty guru said she dreads talking about the situation out of fear that she will be "canceled again."

"I'm so hesitant to talk about it because of the trauma...of like, 'Gosh, if I say this or it comes off kinda the wrong way, am I gonna get canceled again?' It really does leave an impression in one's mind," Olivia said.

"I get so nervous, and I feel like I walk on eggshells when I talk, just because I don't wanna say the wrong thing. And I wanna make it clear to people listening that I'm not trying to victimize myself," she added.

When contacted for comment by BuzzFeed News, a spokesperson for Lori Loughlin denied that this was a "rehabilitation stunt," and added that the information of her donations was announced when she was sentenced over a year ago.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.