Are students cheating their way into college?

The College Board reviewing test security following a major cheating scandal in New York that led to arrests and investigations.
CBS News

The competition to get into a top college is driving some to cheat. On Tuesday, the College Board, which administers the SAT, said it's taking a close look at security procedures.

The review of test security comes in response to a cheating scandal last month that led to an arrest in the New York City suburb of Great Neck, as CBS News correspondent Jim Axelrod reports.

"The consequence part has to be shored up," said New York State Senator Kenneth LaValle, who is investigating the matter. "This is not just a Long Island or a New York State problem. This is a national problem."

Sam Eshagoff, a 19-year-old college student, was charged with using fake IDs to impersonate six high school students -- including a female -- and take the SAT for them for as much as $2,500 a pop.

Test rules allow students to take the SATs anywhere in the country as long as they have identification, said Herb Brown of the Nassau County Council of School Superintendents.

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"In this day and age with computers and airport security," he said, "there's a way of stopping a high school student from going in to take a test who puts his face on somebody else's name."

Colleges are never notified about SAT cheating. And some critics call cheating a natural extension of a college entrance system that puts too much emphasis on SAT scores.

Scott Farber runs a test prep company. Some of his students live in Great Neck.

"Never in the history of college applications," he said, "has it ever been more stressful, has it ever been more difficult to get in. And sometimes at 16, 17, 18 they don't have healthy responses to it."

The College Board is hiring former FBI director Louis Freeh to review the security procedures. Critics say that's overkill -- and all that's necessary to avoid falsifying identity is for the students take the tests in their own schools.

  • Jim Axelrod
    Jim Axelrod

    Jim Axelrod is the chief investigative correspondent and senior national correspondent for CBS News, reporting for "CBS This Morning," the "CBS Evening News," "CBS Sunday Morning," and other CBS News broadcasts.