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Long Island College Prep Expert Says Wide-Ranging Admissions Scandal Is 'Worst-Kept Secret In America'

GLENWOOD LANDING, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- The college admissions scandal is being felt all over the country, including on Long Island, where some people are lamenting a system they say is broken.

CBS2's Carolyn Gusoff spoke to some experts on Tuesday.

"That system is a zero-sum game. For every student admitted through fraud, an honest, genuinely talented student was rejected," said Andrew E. Lelling, U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts.

MOREFelicity Huffman, Lori Loughlin Among Dozens Charged In Nationwide College Admissions Scheme

With the lid off the nationwide scandal, no one is less surprised than Long Island college consultant Andy Lockwood, who says the game is sadly rigged.

WEB EXTRA - CBS2's Carolyn Gusoff speaks to local students about the college fraud scandal:

"I think this is the worst-kept secret in America. This has been going on for decades, the whole pay-to-play thing," Lockwood told CBS2's Carolyn Gusoff on Tuesday.

Actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin, charged in college admissions scheme. (Photos by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images and Rich Fury/Getty Images))

Lockwood said years ago he met William "Rick" Singer, the alleged mastermind of the scheme, who boasted he could get kids into elite colleges through a side door, back then allegedly via donations to college endowments.

The extent of the fraud unveiled Tuesday -- college coaches bribed, fake athletic profiles, SAT officials paid off -- shocks even the most savvy.

"This is only a very small minority of bad actors in the system, but he is not the only one, for sure," Andy Lockwood added.

MOREExpert: Preparing Students And Parents To Deal With College Denials

For students who play by the rules, it's yet another reality check on the uneven playing field.

"I go home every day, I study, I work hard and these kids just do whatever they want and still get into the schools I'm hoping to get into one day," 11th grader Harry Black said.

"You have kids like us who work hard and we don't deserve that," 11th grader Sam Geida added.

"I as a parent, with my kids it's always the SAT, SAT and now kids are just getting a free ride and I think it's disgusting," Jeff Desantnick said.

It's outrageous, but not unthinkable said college students who have already played the high-stakes game.

"They look at your parents and they look at who you are when you apply. It's not fair, but it happens," on student said.

Experts say parents who think they're helping their children -- even by paying for admissions essays -- are sending a damaging message.

"Wherever they would have gotten in on their own merits was not have been enough. You have to buck the system in some way or bust," said Pearl Lockwood, a college financial aid consultant.

As a result of this scandal, there will undoubtedly be lawsuits by students denied admission because cheaters got in instead.

Also surprising to college experts is the list of schools accused in the scandal. It's no longer just the Ivy League colleges. Some second-tier schools are considered impossibly competitive to get into.

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