For every parent like Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin who tried to buy their kid's way into college, there are a slew of others who can barely afford it.
"We are in that funny trap where we don't qualify for aid but we also don't have $70,000 a year to spend on private college," said Robin Coccomo, 42. Her oldest son, Paul, will be a freshman in the fall and she also has two other children not far behind.
"What I offer him, I also want to be able to offer the other two."
Paul Coccomo, 18, wants to study engineering and has already been accepted at eight institutions for next year, including the University of Connecticut in his home state. He is still waiting to hear from seven more colleges, one of which is MIT — his top choice.