hile it costs just $90 to apply to Stanford, one Chinese father shelled out a whopping $6.5 million to ensure that his daughter would gain entrance into the prestigious university.
Yusi Zhao was admitted into Stanford in 2017. She is the daughter of Zhao Tao, the billionaire chairman and co-founder of Shandong Buchang Pharmaceuticals, a provider of traditional Chinese medicine products.
The sophomore was expelled from Stanford last month after it was revealed that her application included falsified information regarding her sailing credentials and was followed by a $500,000 donation to the university’s sailing program. Yusi has no sailing experience.
The donation was made via a foundation run by William Rick Singer, the man in the middle of this year’s mega-scandal in the US involving college admissions. Wealthy families are alleged to have paid Singer obscene amounts of money to make sure that their kids got into some of the country’s top schools. Singer accomplished this feat either by helping the students cheat on the SAT or by bribing school officials to accept them as student athletes.
The Los Angeles Times reports that Yusi’s family paid Singer $6.5 million for the help, a sum that would easily be the largest amount yet revealed that he received from any one family. Second on that list is another Chinese family who paid him $1.2 million to get their daughter into Yale.
Yusi’s parents are reported to have met Singer through the manager of a Los Angeles branch of the investment bank Morgan Stanley. It’s not clear if Yusi knew about the scheme. Tao Zhao himself has an MBA from Fordham University in New York.
Neither Yusi nor her parents have been charged with any crime. Singer is awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty to several crimes and former Stanford sailing head coach John Vandemoer was fired last month after pleading guilty to racketeering.