Meryl Streep donated $2 million to Vassar, where two of her daughters are alumnae


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We’ll probably get more stories like this for a while. Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman became the celebrity faces of “bribing their kids into college through illegal means.” What’s strange is that for the wealthy, well-connected and famous parent, there are a million ways to “bribe” colleges legally into letting their kids in. The Trump and Kushner examples are always cited – Jared Kushner is such an idiot that his father had to donate $2.5 million to Harvard to let him in, Donald Trump donated $1.5 million to Penn/Wharton to get Ivanka and Don Jr. in. So who else is doing it the legal way? Meryl Streep and Lorne Michaels!!

The recent college-admissions bribery scandal has put a spotlight on how the wealthy get their kids into higher education, with many affluent parents more than willing and able to make million-dollar donations before or after their kids earn their degrees. Cantor Fitzgerald billionaire Howard Lutnick made a huge donation — rumored to be $20 million — to Stanford, where two of his sons go, but only after the eldest was a junior there, a spokeswoman for Lutnick told me. Lutnick has also given $65 million to his alma mater, Haverford College.

“Saturday Night Live” producer Lorne Michaels made donations totaling in the six figures to the three universities where his kids went — Yale, Dartmouth and Vanderbilt — through the Michaels Family Foundation. A spokeswoman for Michaels said the money was given only after the children were accepted, and that Michaels also donates to several other schools he has no connection to.

Meryl Streep has donated $2 million to Vassar, which is her alma mater and where two of her daughters are alumnae, and DreamWorks co-founder Jeffrey Katzenberg gave $1.25 million to Boston University a year after his twins, who are now in their mid-30s, graduated.

Michael Ovitz got a son into Brown University, according to Golden, and while the boy lasted only a year, the university reaped big benefits.

“Ovitz brought a number of his key clients, A-list people like Martin Scorsese, for well-publicized events that gave the campus, you know, a lot of panache,” Golden said.

[From Page Six]

Maybe I’m being too Pollyanna about this, but I suspect that Meryl Streep would have donated that money to her alma mater Vassar even if her daughters didn’t go there. Meryl probably even encouraged her girls to go there because Meryl’s Vassar experience was so amazing and she wanted that for her girls too. That being said, of course it’s not a good look. We’ve just become so inured to the quid pro quo of rich parents buying their kids’ way into college that it’s mostly a big shrug. Also: the Lorne Michaels thing is bugging me – “A spokeswoman for Michaels said the money was given only after the children were accepted…” Yeah, just because it happened after the admission, doesn’t make it any less shady. If anything, it looks like even more of a tit-for-tat.

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76 Responses to “Meryl Streep donated $2 million to Vassar, where two of her daughters are alumnae”

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  1. Chou Chou says:

    I went to Vassar in the late ’90′s/early 00′s and had the opportunity to hear Meryl speak while I was there. Her talk was kind of hilarious and I think she might have been drunk. She hopped from topic to topic and rambled on a lot. And finished with: “Vassar was better before they let boys in.”

    • shirurusu says:

      Haha I love it, thanks for sharing! I really like Meryl, I tend to think her girls are pretty smart too and probably got in off their own accord, her donating money is just natural if you love a school and want to support it. I don’t think every person who ever donated to a school had bad intentions, and a witch hunt like that isn’t really appropriate :/ Different with these instagram celeb kids who obviously have different priorities in life/ are not really Harvard material but went there because of who their parents are (or who they paid).

      • otaku fairy... says:

        Agreed. On one hand, it is still an example of some kids having an advantage that other kids don’t have access to. But on the other hand, you could say there’s always some kind of privilege or leg up that people are competing against in life. If a kid is willing to put in the work, I don’t really fault parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc. who have money or connections using those things to try to help them out-especially when there are other areas where you could say other people would have advantages over them when you look at other forms of privilege. It becomes a problem when there’s a pattern of always getting a hand-out though, no effort is ever encouraged, the person rarely if ever is allowed to hear ‘no’, or there’s a win-at-all costs mentality and people are lying and stealing to get what they want.

      • Slowsnow says:

        Her daughter is a seriously good actress!

    • Venus says:

      Late 80s Vassar grad here! I work with some university alumni relations departments now, and getting sizable donations from well-to-do alumni is par for the course for any school. It doesn’t sound like Meryl Streep’s donation was connected to her daughters’ admission — Vassar has a well-respected theater program, so I don’t think it’s just my knee-jerk reaction that says there’s nothing going on.

    • Mumzy says:

      My daughter is a Vassar junior at the moment. I’d happily give them millions if I had it to spare. It is an amazing school. It’s not unusual for happy alums to donate to their schools…all the more so if there’s a family legacy.

  2. Case says:

    I don’t find this that shady. I agree Meryl would’ve donated regardless because she’s an alum. And I’m sure when these schools are recruiting children of famous people, they’re certainly hoping they can push for some hefty donations.

    I suppose because it’s legal and has been going on for a long time, it doesn’t feel like that big of a deal to me. Is it right that these people might be buying their way in? Of course not, but at least they did it through legal means.

    • TQB says:

      And also, the money went to the schools, where it was perhaps used to make the experience better and/or affordable for someone else. The disgusting thing about this Varsity Blues scandal is that the money went for bribes and other shadiness. If Meryl gives Vassar $2MM and that in turn means 20 students get better financial aid, or a lab gets new materials, or a theater gets new lights, that’s not terrible.

      • Down and Out says:

        Exactly! I went to Dartmouth and always accepted that the presence of my wealthy cohorts meant that I was afforded more scholarship funding. I don’t totally love that the rich are able to (even implicitly) tip the scales in favor of admitting their kids, but I also don’t love the idea of having massive student loans because my school couldn’t offer more funding.

      • Surferosa says:

        Vassar grad, class of ’95 here. I absolutely agree with you. I profited from a 75% need-based scholarship back in my day. These colleges rely heavily on rich people’s donations for their generosity to kids with legit financial needs. My mom only agreed to let me go across the country because it would have cost her twice as much to send me to UC Berkley, which was in-state tuition…. even with the added expense of flights. I don’t think there is anything shady about making donations that are on public record. Even if her donation helped her daughters get in, they wouldn’t have lasted more than 1 year if they couldn’t perform academically.

      • Dream says:

        I really don’t have a problem with the rich donating to schools, I think it’s expected and how schools grow through private donations. My issue is with some of these same elites trying to diminish affirmative action and other scholarships as having unfair advantage. Where are the Supreme court cases for legacies or donations. It’s the hypocrisy that drives me crazy.

    • Kco says:

      My husband works in athletics at a VERY EXPENSIVE liberal arts college here in So Cal, and you should hear how the Office of Giving and Alumni relations departments talk about the “Whales” and rich parents of students not even a year out. Some of these students have parents who are celeb adjacent, or the CEo of so and so, and all that jazz, and they’re ALWAYS trying to squeeze out a million here a million there from these past students’ parents. I don’t really side eye these stories.

  3. lower case lila says:

    Meryl Streep is a graduate of Vasser.Natalie Portman:Harvard, Brooke Shields:Princeton, John Legend:UPenn, John Krasinski:Brown, Amanda Peet:Columbia, David Duchovny:Princeton, Conan O’Brien:Harvard.if their children want to attend their parents college, I am sure they will get in, whether they have donated money or not.

    • FHMom says:

      Children of alums are a priority. I would assume that the child of a successful alum would be more of a priority. Plus, there is no reason to assume these kids aren’t intelligent and deserving of the admission. Not every celebrity spawn is an idiot.

      Also, I want to point out that a lot of commenters, myself included, criticize these not-so-special kids for following in their parents footsteps instead of getting an education. I can’t get upset when kids actually choose to go the college route.

      • Svea says:

        Legacy admissions have always been a deal. However a friend’s kid was looking to attend Brown (where the father went) and was told Brown isn’t doing legacy anymore. (Too much demand? Seeking ways to admit that are more profitable vis a vis donations??) and it isn’t a grade/extracurricular issue. The kid has it all.

  4. Eliza says:

    I’m still getting requests for donations from my university. They mismanaged a huge amount of money while i was there, so I’m bitter to give more than i have already. And these poor work-study students call all optimistic about how great donations have made new buildings, and I’m like yeah I’m pretty sure the majority is just going to the president and board (as they’re all paid 7 figures), I literally paid my dues, please stop calling.

    • Boodiba says:

      I have to admit I’ve never given any money to RISD, but then all I learned about supporting myself with my creativity but without any family connections was learned on my own, in NYC.

    • Algernon says:

      To quote John Mulaney, if you’re still giving your college money then college is a stripper and you have fallen in love with her.

    • Arpeggi says:

      I’m getting requests to donate to the university I work at all the freackin’ time. They even have a 24hrs-donation “marathon” where you’re supposed to encourage your friends/fam/entourage to donate and choose which faculty/dept to donate to and it annoys the hell out of me that they’re asking staff to donate. Especially since it took them almost a decade to settle a pay equity issue (me and my peers were underpaid by 30% compared to similar male-dominated positions, they owed my $100K). If rich alumni are eager to donate, good for them! But don’t ask staff and current students, it’s wrong.

      And of course, my own alma mater also contacts me about donations every month… Can’t they wait until we reach our 40s at least? I’ve only just finished paying my loans, I’m just starting to earn a decent living, I can’t donate thousands away!

    • minx says:

      They’re always going to ask, just tell them no. It’s like political organizations, unless you specifically unsubscribe or tell them not to call, they will. Your name is on a list.

    • Agirlandherdog says:

      I went to law school at a very prestigious, VERY expensive school in the South. I had a half tuition scholarship, but borrowed the rest. Which I’ve been paying back for the last 15 years. And will continue to pay back for another 10. So when they immediately started calling me after graduation for donations, I was all “Are you freaking kidding me right now?”

      • Ellen Olenska says:

        I know it must seem impossible right now but
        I suspect your half scholarship came from someone’s donation long ago. I was a scholarship student too and I’ve tried to “ pay it back” once I got on my feet. ( and I suspect we both went to the same school 😉). Student loans are painful but there will be a day when you get done with them!

    • Michelle says:

      Exactly. Where’s the tuition money going?

  5. Mrs. Peel says:

    Spoiler alert – rich people have power, money and influence!

    • me says:

      I know right ! I guess we are just supposed to believe the children of celebs are just that much smarter than the rest of us that SOOOO many seem to get into Ivy League schools lol.

      • Gaby says:

        Money can buy the best education available since kindergarten. Most of these kids are well traveled, with huge access to different cultures, languages, etc. There is, of course, natural intelligence, but it’s also something you can develop if you have the right tools. There are Olivia Jades out there that want nothing in life but fame and money with zero effort but we’ve never heard anything bad about Meryl’s or Dr. Dre’s daughters to assume they are stupid and/or spoiled and that they couldn’t get in on their own, especially since they are not trying to cash in on their parents’ names. It’s obvious it helps to have rich and famous parents, but to assume every single one of them is dumb or undeserving is offensive and ignorant. And claiming every legal donation is bribery affects not only the reputation of the school and the donors but also endangers the many benefits this money offers to other students who depend on them for scholarships and programs.

        Absolutely EVERY parent in the WORLD wants to give their children the best education they can afford.

      • me says:

        @ Gaby

        I never accused those girls of any of that. A lot of those kids have admitted (including Dr. Dre’s daughter) that they were pressured to attend USC or whatever school it was.

    • noway says:

      I know, and for most of these schools I kind of get it to some extent. You need the donors and full paying kids to help pay for the others who can’t afford it. Just be upfront, what percentage is legacy, donations, etc in admission. Stop trying to say it is all fair and blind admission, when we all really know it’s not completely about the student’s record.

      What I find interesting about this scandal though is why the Felicity Hoffman and Lori Laughlin’s of the world just didn’t go this route. Granted it’s not guaranteed, but I still think it’s like Dr. Dre you can say my daughter got in here look how proud you should be of me as a parent. I mean even Dr. Dre is doing it. Look at my successful kid. Granted some kids may think look my parents are proud of me, but you know the majority are like Mom are you crazy why are you bringing me into this?

    • BchyYogi says:

      The theory is EVERYONE benefits from a family’s fat donation, but only that one family benefits from tax deducted cheat bribes.

  6. Nikki says:

    It’s ridiculous and unfair to make every donation to a school about bribery. If someone makes a donation after a son or daughter has been accepted, ESPECIALLY after the student has graduated, there’s absolutely NOTHING shady about that. And even if the kid is still attending, it’s often because a parent is so impressed with the place, and wants to contribute. Universities and colleges count on donations; my daughter’s career is in “planned giving”, where she seeks donations from wealthy patrons, and keeps in contact with them, etc. I’d donate money to my kids’ schools if I had a bunch to spend; they were wonderful places for my kids!

    • lucy2 says:

      I agree, this is in no way comparable to the cheating scandal.

      Having a famous/wealthy parent surely helps the students get accepted, especially if the parent too went there, but if no money changed hands before acceptance, or even graduation in some of these cases, it seems like typical alumni donations, and not at all shady.

      My university has a couple of BIG name alums, and they’ve donated a ton and done some great stuff on campus.

    • Candikat says:

      Exactly, Nikki! Schools NEED money to operate, and this kind of nonsense may discourage wealthy alumni with kids to donate. The reporting on these stories needs to distinguish between donations made before admission and after admission. I donate way more to my kids’ private school than I do to my alma maters, because I care deeply about its viability and success. If I had millions I’d be giving in that range. To then falsely smear my kids as not worthy of acceptance would be deeply offensive to me and unfairly damaging to them. So can we please all acknowledge that:
      1) Falsifying data on an application and/or bribing a school official during the admissions process = ILLEGAL AND EGREGIOUS.
      2) Giving a huge donation shortly before your child applies to a school = LEGAL, BUT SHADY.
      3) Giving a huge donation to a school at any time after your child is accepted and matriculated = JUST FINE, LAUDABLE, AND ENCOURAGED.

    • noway says:

      Yes you are right somewhat, and it would be sad if donations diminish cause of this. Still I don’t think the timing of the donation gives any clue weather it is a quid pro quo or just a donation. If it was a bribe it could have been agreed how it is paid at the time. Also hate to break it to you, I don’t think the donation being made public means it’s not an incentive to give their kid admission either. All of the above is vastly different than falsifying your tests and achievements though. Plus, I’m pretty sure most people who apply to the “elites” realize being wealthy helps, and I think they should just admit it’s a factor and say how much and what percentage are full paying students and let it be. It’s not like people aren’t still going to strive for it and apply.

    • LT says:

      Nikki,

      I totally agree. This is NOT shady.

      Recently, I met with the head of alumni relations for my university, who was a professor of mine 25+ years ago. He wants me to start thinking of sending my kids to my alma mater because “children of our alumni tend to do well at [my university.]” I’ve maybe given $500 to my alma mater over the years and while I have done well in my field, I am neither famous nor ridiculously wealthy – so accepting my kids will only mean the school will get some good students. Sometimes, the school really does want legacy kids because (shocker) kids who have grown up hearing good things about that school may actually be a good fit for that school. It’s not always nefarious.

  7. Bonnie says:

    While the wealthy still have an advantage with the system through legal donations, I think at least that benefits the school and other students by money spent on new buildings or new programs (see earlier story on Dr. Dre). When they try to game the system by paying somebody off and cheating, it’s a much different story.

  8. Kebbie says:

    I see nothing shady about this unless the donations were made as the kid was trying to get in. I agree that Meryl would’ve donated anyways. She’s always been outspoken about her love for Vassar.

    • Svea says:

      A former colleague bragged around the office how his kid was declined at a Southern college. He called them up and asked what would happen if he made a 50K donation. Presto the kid was in. Was amazed how much he yapped about it and so proudly. The kid never knew, probably to this day thinks they got in on their own merits.

  9. NotHeidisGirl says:

    That whole “donation” scheme is shady AF. #sorrynotsorry

  10. CES says:

    So they probably got in because she went there. Being accepted via legacy is just as equally unfair as bribing your way in.

    • noway says:

      Or maybe not, they could have gotten in on their merit, but you don’t really know. This is unfortunately, the brush that will be painted on these rich kids. There rich kids though, and the world has bigger issues to deal with than them.

  11. Emily says:

    At first glance, this doesn’t really bother me. I mean, I’ve donated money to my alma mater and it’s not some great school and I’m not rich. And then I think, legacies are always more likely to get in. But…why? Why should that be? Because your grandparents could afford for your parents to go there, you’re more likely to get in? My mom graduated from what most people would call an elite school, and I knew I’d never get in. But she would tell me “at that time, if your parents could afford it, you were in”. Since college entry is so much more competitive now, why are they allowed to openly prefer “legacy” students? Aren’t students who are maybe the first to go to college in their family already facing enough difficulties?
    The whole system is such a racket and needs to change.

    • Miss M says:

      The school I got my PhD program had/has a program called ” gateway program”. The students in this program are first generation to attend college. They were very driven and eager to learn. I had the privilege to be a teaching assistant in their first year. I wish schools had more programs like that.

  12. KHLBHL says:

    Unpopular opinion: donations from wealthy people are somewhat necessary to fund scholarships for students from disadvantaged backgrounds, school facilities, etc.

    I was the recipient of a need-based, full-tuition scholarship to attend an “elite,” very expensive school that I would never have been able to afford otherwise. I got a piece of paper as part of the acceptance letter that had the name of the donor on it and you could even contact the donor directly to thank them for their contribution. I had a wonderful experience at that school; it opened a lot of doors for me (part of the reason why people are so desperate to send their kids to Ivies – not just for an amazing education, but to build a network of people). I’m grateful that there are some rich people out there funding educational opportunities for people who normally wouldn’t be able to afford them.

    That being said, I do think it’s unfair that wealthy students have an advantage when it comes to the admissions process. But I have heard that disproportionately (maybe 15% of an incoming class) it is student athletes who also receive some sort of advantage (which is why one of those girls – Lori Loughlin’s daughter I believe – pretended to be on a crew team). Lacrosse, baseball, basketball, crew, tennis, fencing, etc.etc. Student athletes are recruited and made a priority by colleges, stacking the admissions odds in their favor. But you do have to think…most student athletes are from wealthy backgrounds, who were showered with every opportunity, every piece of equipment, every coach, etc., from an early age…so every which way you go about it, wealthy people and their spawn are always at an advantage. Which is something most of us knew already.

    • Original Jenns says:

      It’s hard because on one hand, it’s unfortunate to see the rotten apples who would have not made it past the initial application receive these influential degrees. However, I agree that this money that’s donated above board does make a difference to students that deserve to be there but otherwise would not be able to afford it. My step daughter will be attending a private school for high school and was lucky (and wrote a great essay) to receive a very large scholarship that takes a huge burden off of her parents. I am a firm believer you can get a good education wherever you go, it’s up to the student to get what they can out of the school. But I do believe what this and other schools like it offer, are amazing network abilities. The students who’s parents donate, or can pay full price to get them into the school, offer not just friendships but doors that can open to big possibilities to each other through their connections. Why shouldn’t my girl get those same opportunities.

      So while it, of course, is the wealthy buying a second look, or a seat near the top, the money can be used as scholarships to give some very well deserved students a ride along that same path. And the reality is, some of these names are going to get recognition whether they donate or not. The lying and cheating that only benefits the parents and student is the battle I choose to fight.

    • noway says:

      “It’s unfortunate to see the rotten apples who would have not made it past the initial application receive influential degrees.” This is one place we need to alter our thinking a bit. First they are kids, even the entitled influencer Louglin girl is still a teenager when her parents instigated this. Yes the parents instigated all of this, as it’s not like she can come up with $500K on her own. Should the kid have stopped it. Probably, but how many 17 year olds stand up against their parents, especially when they give you everything. I wouldn’t call her rotten, just not raised well. Hopefully this will have an impact on her life, and she will find a way to live a more meaningful and less superficial life.

      Second, the reality is a lot of the mediocre test taker and gpa students would still do fine at these “elite” schools. Sure they might not get Dean’s list, but they could probably get a degree. The school isn’t that different than the average state university. In fact I would bet some of the public cheaper less known universities have superior programs in certain areas. They just have a cache about them brought on by years of people thinking they were the best. If something good could come out of this, I am hoping it’s that these elite schools aren’t always thought of as the best thing.

  13. Tanya says:

    I was talking with my friend who works in development for my alma mater. His take on it was that schools like that aren’t going to put just anyone’s name on a building. Meryl Streep didn’t have to donate to jet her kids noticed. Obama wouldn’t have had to either. Lori Loughlin would have had to donate much more than she spent. These colleges have endowments in the billions. They can afford to be choosy.

    • perplexed says:

      I was thinking that perhaps Lori Loughlin couldn’t make an endowment because nobody wanted her name on a building or a library. It likely has to come from the “right” person.

  14. Ali says:

    So no seeing red for those hard working do everything by the book and then some A+++ students who lose out when a rich kid gets a legacy or big donation spot over them because that’s how the system works?

  15. Cay says:

    There is no practical reason for these people to give millions of dollars in donations to some of these schools. The only way it can help is on a personal level. Here are some of the university endowments.

    Harvard endowment: $39.2 billion
    Yale endowment: $29.4 billion
    Stanford endowment: $25.6 billion
    USC endowment: $5.5 billion
    Vanderbilt endowment: $4.6 billion
    NYU endowment: $4.1 billion
    Vassar endowment: $1.08 billion

    These universities have such huge endowments they don’t know what to do with the money. Harvard and Stanford are now giving free tuition to students with family incomes of less than $200,000. NYU now offers free tuition for medical school students.

    Some of these universities have larger endowments than entire countries’ GDPs. (Iceland, for example, has a GDP of $24 billion.)

    There is absolutely NO REASON to give millions to Harvard or Stanford. No reason at all.

    • Venus says:

      @Cay: Your statement makes no sense. One single year at Harvard costs $67,580 for tuition and room and board, according to their website. That doesn’t include books. Four years at Harvard costs over a quarter of a million dollars! Having an enormous endowment enables the school to make a college education free for a significant population. And free med school at NYU? Also amazing — it enables new docs to come out of school not crippled with debt and perhaps encourages them to go into less lucrative practices as a result. We can argue about whether education should cost so much, but at many schools it does. Having significant endowments enables those schools to enroll students from a range of backgrounds, not just the wealthy.

      • Cay says:

        Yes, that’s what I was saying. Those endowments have so much money in them, they can’t spend it all. They have gone from giving “scholarships” to students to giving free education to “low income” families. Those “low incomes” are less than $200,000.

        I have no problem with “free education,” but this is only being done at these universities that have these huge endowments. For example, Arizona State University “only” has $643 million in endowments. They cannot offer the same tuition-free option that Harvard can.

        I think you have misunderstood what I was trying to say.

      • Venus says:

        @Cay, I still don’t understand your point. “Less than $200,000″ also means that the kid from a poor family can afford Harvard. Endowments are not meant to be spent — they’re used for the income they produce. So if you have a $1 million endowment (for example), the school doesn’t want to spend that million. They spend the returns from investing that money. The larger the endowment, the larger the returns. Apart from tuition, schools also need to fund building and grounds maintenance and improvements, staff and teaching salaries and benefits, administration, and all the other expenses that go along with running a school. With a small endowment, schools have to rely on tuition and increased student population (which may or may not happen), and/or defer maintenance, offer lower salaries, rely on adjuncts rather than full professors, and so on. Harvard’s endowment is crazy big, absolutely no question about that. But it also means they can afford to do things that other schools probably would like to but don’t have the money for.

    • Miss M says:

      @Cay: a friend of mine attended MIT on a scholarship. A brilliant student who would not be able to pay to go to MIT. I agree with Venus comment.

    • noway says:

      @Cay there is one big thing you are forgetting. Arizona State is a public university receiving a significant portion of its budget from the taxpayers of Arizona. Yale, Stanford, and Harvard are all private institutions which don’t receive that money from their respective states. Since they don’t receive public money, they usually employ a large staff to get donations and generally alumni are a good source. Plus any state school should really provide for the education of state residents. This is the reason why a lot of the public institutions are larger. 41,000 students attend Arizona State while the average for the schools you mentioned is 6000. Now another thing you may not realize is large donations to public universities have different rules on what you can do with them which private schools do not. Those rules are generally set up by the state as technically they are state institution.

    • ikki says:

      @cay how interesting!

  16. Um says:

    At least the money is going to the school where others can benefit from it. I see nothing wrong with this. In the case of the bribes the money went to one person that kept it for their personal benefit.

  17. M says:

    Nah. People donate to their alma maters all the time, and it is very common for kids to attend their parents’ schools. Everyone knows that applying to a school where one of your parents graduated gives you an advantage—that is a tale as old as time. That does not mean the parents “bribed” said school to get their kids in, and to equate that to the Lori Loughlin/Felicity Huffman scandal is outrageous and going too far.

  18. CK says:

    Eh, If I’m ever in the position to donate millions to my alma mater, I will. It’s not a matter of “getting my future kids in” more than it is one of gratitude to the enjoyable, yet rocky 4 years that I spent there. I had full financial aid. Research grants flowed like water. Every student on financial aid, regardless of the amount, was eligible for paid summer abroad. Cultural houses had full staff and advisors. Campus jobs paid 12-21 dollars an hour. Independent student theater was funded. Most importantly, mental health services were widely available and free. Sure, I’d like to donate to some HBCUs as well, but as for other private schools, their alumni can do that. State schools can tax me for their money.

    • jay says:

      Are all these services still available at your school though? It’d be worth looking into before cutting a cheque…otherwise you may be donating to something that serves a different student body.

  19. perplexed says:

    Her kids don’t brag about themselves the way Gwyneth Paltrow does, so I don’t have a strong opinion on whether they “deserved” to be at Vassar or not (if they majored in theatre, it’s likely they inherited her acting talent anyway, barring some bizarre genetic mutation).

    I think as long as you’re humble about how you got to a certain destination, it’s easier to swallow why you have certain opportunities over others. People like Jared Kushner who are actually stupid enough to think they’re brilliant are the ones worth mocking, I think.

  20. HNZs says:

    Ok and Streep is also sooooo over rated its ridiculous.

    Screw Meryl and her already over priviledgex offspring.

    Cancelled. A long time ago!

  21. jay says:

    On what planet does a university (a veritable money printing machine) require donations in the first place?

  22. Em says:

    Eh…while this doesn’t look great, I don’t think this is on the same level as either Lori Loughlin/Felicity Huffman scheme or the Kushner/Trump method of buying one’s way into college.

    For one thing, as many people have said, Meryl is an alumnae of Vassar and has spoken highly of it. She would probably donate regardless whether her children attended there too– she has a connection to the college, unlike the Kushners who had no connection to Harvard before their donation. Secondly, it hasn’t been established when this donation was made or if it was a lump sum donation of $2 million– it’s entirely possible that she has donated a collective $2 million over time, or that she donated years and years before her daughters attended.

    Also, I believe that her oldest daughter attended Northwestern, so this seems less shady than how ALL of the Trumps went to Penn. (I grew up with the kids of the wealthiest family in my state and all of them attended Penn as well…Penn definitely seem to have some sort of deal with accepting all kids from wealthy families)

    While I don’t doubt that Meryl has pulled some strings in terms of her daughters’ careers, this doesn’t seem to me like bribery or buying one’s admission to college.

  23. Hypocritical much says:

    No worries that a degree from these elite educational institutions are unattainable for the vast majority of qualified students as long as it worked out okay for some of you and your kids. 🙄

  24. Crystal says:

    The reporting on all of these people who have made donations to their alma mater or any of their children’s school is getting asinine. Anyone crying about this is only going to hurt himself or herself or their children’s chances of receiving scholarships because there will be less to go around. Wealthy people will quit making gifts like this and those less fortunate will have less opportunity to attend these schools than ever. It will simply become a matter of who can afford to pay full tuition or not and wealthy people will pay it and keep the rest of their money to themselves. Meryl Streep is one of the most renowned actresses- I’m sure Vassar is extremely proud to have her as an alumnus and would have wanted her daughters to attend whether she made a financial contribution or not. Also, regarding acceptance to schools for theater/ film programs- a lot of those types of admissions are based on auditions or portfolios, not necessarily the typical formulaic gpa/ test scores. Get a grip people. Newsflash, many wealthy people make education a priority for their children and their children have the grades/ test scores to be admitted on their own. Growing up with wealth doesn’t equate to being stupid or lazy, just like growing up poor doesn’t equate to being stupid or lazy.

  25. Aubrey says:

    They would have accepted her because she is THE Maryl Streep’s daughter.

  26. Karen2 says:

    Why do they give so so much is what I’d like to ask. To already rich institutions. Streeps $2 mil is more like ” There Take it & now stop with the begging letters” cos we all know thats what the schools do.

    Says a lot for the Gates that they handed over their billions to various UN funds where at least it might do some good in the world.

  27. Lexluthorblack says:

    This why state universities and community colleges should be practical free in the U.S. If that system is merit based than they would no need for donations and there would be equal access. All the other private universities can fight for donations from rich parent. Equal access offered by the government levels the playing field and allows access solely on hard work. There has to be cheaper path for education in U.S., where the smart kids from middle and low incomes can obtained education without corruption, pay for play, nepotism, loans and charity. Overall this will help the entire population become more educated. Furthermore, vocational training or apprenticeship should be promoted so college is not the only option. The education system is crazy in the U.S.

  28. Kathryn says:

    Fun fact — even though she donates to Vassar, that’s where she wanted the graduation scene in It’s Complicated to be filmed and they told her no. Money doesn’t buy everything, I guess.

  29. Dan says:

    Must be nice to have all that wealth privilege.

  30. CK says:

    I think it’s important to remember that not all colleges are trying to fill their ranks w/ scientists and mathematicians and given the range of disciplines that they offer, you’re always going to get people that are dull in one subject, but remarkable in another.

    A school with a robust undergrad/grad theater program isn’t going to accept 100 math students and 2 theater students. They’re either going to balance or lean toward the theater side and that’s always going to result in disparities. I was a well rounded high scoring student and then I took an architecture course to see if I may want to major in it and realized that the subject would make me look like the Village Idiot.