Huffman, Loughlin could face jail time in college admissions scandal

Davin Sweeney, a director of college counseling, joins "GMA" to discuss the fallout from the scandal that has ensnared wealthy parents like Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman.
8:39 | 03/13/19

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Transcript for Huffman, Loughlin could face jail time in college admissions scandal
We do begin with more on that fallout from that college admissions scandal rocking Hollywood. Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin were among those charged for paying to get their kids into top schools. Both could face possible jail time and linsey Davis has more. Reporter: Turns out there was actually a full house episode about a similar concept only Lori Loughlin's character aunt Becky put an end to the scam to get the kids into the elite school. She and felicity Huffman were willing to spare no expense to get their children into their dream schools. This morning, two of Hollywood's brightest stars are now facing major jail time in a college admissions cheating scandal that's rocked the country. Both women, felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin, are accused of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud all to help their daughters gain access into elite colleges. Huffman is an Emmy winner known for playing Lynette Scavo in "Desperate housewives." Aren't we just the parliaments of the year sitting in the stands waiting for a son to fail so we can weasel out of a bribery scan scandal. Reporter: Now she's playing the role of defendant. On Tuesday she faced a federal judge. Her husband William H. Macy was seen walking into the hearing. The couple has been married for two decades and have two children. She's now out on $250,000 bail. You're asking for a bribe? You pretending you're above that? I've got my checkbook. Reporter: The actress is accused of bribery in real life. Allegedly paying an admissions consultant $15,000 to ensure a proctor would improve her daughter's test scores. In the end a 400-point jump over her psat score. This image was posted during a college tour. Also embroiled Lori Loughlin. The actress who rose to fame on "Full house" playing the kind-hearted role model aunt Becky. I just want the best for my little boys. That's all. Sweetheart, I know you want what's best but maybe the fast track isn't it. I mean, Nicky and Alex are normal and whatever track they are, they seem to be doing okay. Reporter: Social media seizing on that image, the #auntbecky trending for most of the day. Loughlin and her husband mossimo giannulli, the fashion designer behind the brand mossimo are accused of paying $500,000 in bribes in exchange for having their two daughters designated as recutes to the usc crew team despite the fact that they did not participate in crew, thereby father till stating their admission to usc. The couple even reportedly took pictures of their children on rowing machines. I don't really care about school as you guys all know. Reporter: Loughlin's daughter is Olivia jade, a popular influencer on somebody with more than a million followers where she can be seen chronicling her college life with her famous If you would have said England is my city, why did I pay all this money for your education? Reporter: She's even used her status to get sponsorships including this one from Amazon posted in September. Lori Loughlin is now headed back to the United States from Canada where she was working on her hallmark series. If convicted some legal experts estimate that Loughlin could face as many as 46 months and Huffman as many as 18 months behind bars. Meanwhile many parents and students are outraged learning about the scheme especially with student loan debt at an all five I'm high of $1.5 trillion. Makes you wonder how many students missed Ang opportunity to sit in a classroom because of this. Joining us a former college admission officer at university of Rochester now working with families as a college counselor. Davin Sweeney and Dan Abrams is back. Good to see you both. Davin, so many watching. Is the system rigged? Can students get a fair shake. No, they can't but not necessarily because people are bribing admissions offices to the tune of millions of dollars. You know, I think unfortunately we will live in a system -- unequal system of education that provides access opportunity to people who have the money to afford that access opportunity in a variety of extremely legal ways. Let's walk through some of we can all agree it's wrong to have someone correct your S.A.T. Scores but know wealthy kids can get intensive coaching and can rewrite their essays and it's completely legal. Yeah, it is. Unfortunately, that's the case. I think that as an admissions counselor and somebody now on the other side of that equation helping students manage that system, I think everybody ought to be trying to do is help students just sort of present their best self. Could you smell out the fake essays. I think you can smell out when a kid isn't righting at a level you expect a opportunity to be writing at and this is one of the hard things about it that I feel for the -- my friends in the admission offices that really -- this is not an admissions scandal but greed and coaching scandal and I feel bad for the fact that my colleagues really got took as it were. So and it is always difficult. I do tell families we have to kind of be a sleuth in the admission office when we're reading applications to try to understand, okay, what version of this kid is it? You hope that it's just -- It's not a doctored version. Not a fully fake version. This this case the parents were faking their children's disabilities and ethnicities which is so egregious that they were trying to gain the system. Can we trust this system? Is it working? Well, let's be honest, also we're not talking about the system. You know, we're talking about the highly selective college admissions process which is a very -- represents a small sliver of opportunity that families are going for. The overwhelming majority of families in this country that go to college don't go to college via this system. You know, the New York system, you can split one application, the essay is optional and you apply to six cools. CUNY Baruch are ranked at or near the top moving from one stat us to the next. Those are the kind of rankings we should pay attention to but, yeah, unfortunately I think that the highly selective institutions are the one that drive the narrative. Obviously we're hear talking about a certain set of schools on "Good morning America" discussing. This raises a lot of questions about -- they're calling this the side door, the illegal way. The legal way, if you have a lot of money you cannot just pay for test prep, you can donate a building. Can you write a really big check. You can have your -- By, you mean -- Your grandfather who went there -- Not me. Take a sip of your coffee. We'll see if the check clears after this. There are legal ways to curry favor. There's a legal difference. In one there's up more transparency and of an ability of a school to make a decision based on the facts as they know number two when it comes to selective institutions we're talking about really big check, right? And even then and singer involved in this case would sort of say to people that won't guarantee you admission. He was effectively saying I can almost guarantee you admission, that won't necessarily guarantee you admission. From a moral perspective you can see Kuwait the two. From a legal perspective there is a difference and the matter of money matters. Lori Loughlin could potentially face a more significant sentence than felicity Huffman because she spent $500,000 twice, felicity Huffman, $15,000 only once. You're making the broad point of the way most kids get into college. I wonder if these parents who were cheating and the ones paying that money are even getting what they thinkary's paying for. Is the edge that significant? I mean, look, as a representative of one of these organizations that will help people navigate the college admissions prosecutor process I think step number one is beware, anybody that offers a guarantee and I think that word was used several times in the course of negotiations between families and the people that were taking the money to provide the services. The parents may be doing it for the parent, remember, they may not be doing it for the kids. Their own self-esteem, et Clearly this has us talking and we'll talk a lot more about it. Davin, you will be back in our next hour. More on what to do to help your child get a fair shot at college.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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