Some of you parents out there may remember the old TV Western Have Gun. Will Travel. In it, gunslinger/high-society maven Paladin would lend his considerable shooting skills to those who needed help. All for a considerable fee. Thus, those who could pay, got the help that they needed.
The common link to modern college admissions is, as in many cases, money. Those who have it, sometimes get what they want. Higher education is a business, regardless of the lofty ideals promoted by campus public relations offices. Therefore, if an admissions office sees a ballpark applicant whose family has big bucks (in other words, a "full pay," as they're called), formerly stringent admission standards are sometimes relaxed to allow for the full incoming flow of tuition and the diminished outflow of financial aid funds for that applicant. Makes good biz sense from where I sit.