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Academic Honor Code

Can You Be Expelled From School If You Lied On A College Application?

By November 19, 2020April 6th, 2022No Comments

College admissions are getting more and more competitive as the years go by. 

It’s no surprise that the pressure to lie and cheat on college applications has intensified as well. 

Imagine applying for an elite school that admits only 4 to 5% of the applicants. You may have the urge to lie or embellish the facts on your college application because you’ve heard that you can get away with lying on your college application. But you also know that there’s always the off chance of that lie being discovered.

But the question is, what are the consequences? Is the penalty simply a revocation of the admission offer? Or can it extend to after you’ve begun the course or even after graduating?

Can You Be Expelled For Lying On Your College Application?

The short answer to this question is yes, you can be expelled for lying on your college application. 

If the school authorities suspect you of lying on your college application, you have to face a code of conduct violation. They will inform you of the specific code of conduct violation you have been charged with. 

As soon as you receive this notice, you will have to defend yourself in a committee hearing. If the committee believes you to be guilty of the violation — in this case, lying on your college application — the consequences range from a letter of reprimand to expulsion. 

The punishment will be determined by the committee based on the gravity of the violation. So the question of whether you can be expelled for lying on your college application is dependent on the extent of the lie.

Can Your Degree Be Rescinded For Lying On Your College Application?

Rescinding a person’s degree is a severe sanction and not one that a college would dish out lightly. 

The school may, however, deem it a necessary evil to protect academic integrity. Therefore, the aim of revoking a degree is not just a way to sanction a person, but rather a way of protecting the college’s integrity.

A college can, therefore, investigate former students and charge them with honor code violations, including:

  • Plagiarism 
  • Fabrication in a thesis 
  • Falsification of transcripts

So yes, your college degree can be rescinded for lying on your college application.

An alumnus charged with an honor code violation would, like a student, face a disciplinary hearing. If the committee believes that the falsification on the college application is grievous enough, the college may rescind the degree.

How Can You Defend Yourself If You Didn’t Actually Lie?

The process for a disciplinary hearing of a student or alumnus differs from college to college. However, you will usually be called upon to defend yourself once you are charged. The disciplinary proceedings are similar to a court hearing. As such, your fundamental rights remain present.

Once charged, you do have some rights.

  1. You have a right to know the specific violation you’ve been accused of
  2. You have a right to know the possible sanctions. 
  3. You also have the right to be given a copy of the evidence and a list of the witnesses the school intends to rely on. 
  4. You have the right to hire a student defense lawyer (although some colleges will only allow this lawyer to act in an advisory capacity).
  5. And you are allowed to present your evidence and call witnesses.

If you’re unsatisfied with the decision of the disciplinary committee, you can choose to challenge that decision in court.

Get in touch with DC Student Defense today

Lying on your college application can seem like a trivial thing until you have to face the consequences. Expulsion and a revocation of your degree is a very high price to pay for such “triviality.”

Therefore, considering how dire the repercussions can be, you want to avoid the situation entirely. Contact DC Student Defense today if you’re facing this type of accusation.

These materials have been prepared by Cohen Seglias for informational purposes only and are not intended and should not be construed as legal advice.

Shan Wu

Author Shan Wu

Shan’s professional and personal background gives him a unique understanding of academic institutions and the criminal justice system. A former federal prosecutor in Washington, D.C., he is at home in D.C. Courts and very familiar with all of the Washington, D.C. law enforcement agencies, especially the Metropolitan Police Department. His parents were university professors so he grew up in a university environment. He understands the mindset of academic institutions. As a prosecutor, he supervised in the misdemeanor crime section. This is the section of the Washington, D.C. prosecutor’s office that handles most college student cases. His understanding of charging decisions and how judges view these cases is invaluable to his student clients and their families. Shan served as a federal prosecutor in the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia for over ten years. During his tenure there, now Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr. appointed him to supervisory positions in the Misdemeanor Trial Section and also in a police corruption task force. His outstanding legal work in the government was recognized through numerous Special Achievement Awards from the Justice Department as well as awards conveyed by law enforcement agencies and community groups. From 1999-2000, Shan served as Counsel to Attorney General Janet Reno, advising her on criminal and civil investigations, E-Gov, E-Commerce (electronic signatures, internet gambling, internet telephony, privacy & public access issues in electronic court filings), congressional oversight, and legislative review. His responsibilities included serving as liaison to the FBI, DEA, Criminal Division, Executive Office of United States Attorneys, National Institute of Justice, and White House Counsel’s Office. Shan serves on the D.C. Bar Association’s Hearing Committee of the Board on Professional Responsibility and is a past president of the Asian Pacific American Bar Association for the Greater Washington, D.C. area. He is a 1988 graduate of Georgetown University Law Center, where he graduated Order of the Barristers, edited two law reviews, and was Co-Director of the Moot Court Program. He holds a B.A. in English Literature from Vassar College as well as a Master’s Degree in Creative Writing from Sarah Lawrence College. Following law school, he clerked for the late Hon. Jerry Buchmeyer, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, and the late Eugene Wright, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. He is admitted to practice law in the District of Columbia and Connecticut.

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