SAN FRANCISCO — In one of the first lawsuits to come out of the college bri­bery scandal, several students are suing Yale, Georgetown, Stanford and other schools involved in the case, saying they and others were denied a fair shot at admission.

The plaintiffs brought the class-action complaint Wed­nesday in federal court in San Francisco on be­half of themselves and other applicants, asking for unspecified damages and the return of all ap­pli­cation fees.

They argued that ap­pli­cants who played by the rules were victimized when rich and famous par­ents paid bribes that en­abled unqualified stu­dents to get into highly sel­ective universities.

“Each of the universities took the students’ ad­mis­sion ap­pli­cation fees while fail­ing to take adequate steps to en­sure that their ad­mis­sions process was fair and free of fraud, bribery, cheat­ing and dis­honesty,” the lawsuit said.

Legal experts, though, said the students could have difficulty holding the col­leges responsible.

The scandal erupted Tues­day when federal pros­e­cu­tors announced char­ges against 50 peop­le, including coaches and doz­ens of parents, among them TV actresses Fel­ic­ity Huffman and Lori Lough­lin. Prosecutors said parents paid to rig stan­dard­ized exams and bribed coaches to get their children designated as recruited athletes in sports they didn’t even play, thereby boosting their chances of getting in.

The colleges have cast them­selves as victims and moved to distance them­selves from the coaches by firing or suspending them.

The investigation began with a tip from an ex­ec­u­tive under suspicion in a securities fraud probe, according to a law en­force­ment official who was not auth­orized to discuss the case and spoke on con­dition of anonymity.

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