By Sydney Bucksbaum
October 30, 2020 at 03:36 PM EDT
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Credit: CJ GUNTHER/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock

Lori Loughlin has reported to prison almost three weeks early to begin her two-month sentence for her role in last year's college admissions scandal.

The former Full House star, 56, had the option to report to prison by Nov. 19, a legal source close to the actress tells PEOPLE. But she decided to go early so that she'd be released by the end of 2020.

"She hopes to be home by Christmas, but she’ll definitely be home by New Year's," the source says. "She had everything in order, so she decided a couple of days ago to report to prison. She can put this behind her as she goes into 2021... She is going to set her jaw and do her time. Of course she’s dreading it, but she’s resigned that it’s the way to get this behind her. She’s already thinking about how 2021 will be better for her, and she’ll be able to move forward."

Loughlin was booked on Friday morning and will serve her time at FCI-Dublin in northern California.

Back in May 2019, the case — dubbed Operation Varsity Blues — shocked the country and the world of higher education when it was revealed that Loughlin and Felicity Huffman had been charged in relation to a massive, nationwide college admissions cheating scandal. The U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts, whose office ran the case alongside the FBI, made relevant court documents available to the public on their website. The massive scandal involved not only Loughlin and Huffman (although theirs were the names that stood out the most) but also many other rich and powerful people faking learning disabilities, falsifying sports photos, and bribing college coaches in order to get their kids accepted to elite universities.

Loughlin was sentenced in August of this year, in accordance with a plea deal she and her husband Mossimo Giannulli, who received a five-month prison sentence, struck with prosecutors. Loughlin will also pay a $150,000 fine and face two years of supervised release, with 100 hours of community service. The couple was accused of paying $500,000 in bribes to pose their daughters as recruits for the University of Southern California crew team, even though neither of them ever participated in the sport.  Both Loughlin and her husband pleaded guilty in May after maintaining their innocence for more than a year and moving to have the charges dismissed. Ultimately, Loughlin pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud, and Giannulli pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud and honest services wire and mail fraud.

"I made an awful decision. I went along with a plan to give my daughters an unfair advantage in the college admissions process," Loughlin said after the sentencing was announced. "I wish I could go back and do things differently. I can only take responsibility and move forward. I am truly, profoundly, and deeply sorry. I’m ready to face the consequences and make amends. I thought I was acting out of love for my children, but in reality it only undermined and diminished my daughters’ abilities and accomplishments."

In the wake of the scandal, Netflix's Full House reboot Fuller House cut ties with the actress, as did the Hallmark Channel, where Loughlin had been a fixture of Christmas movies and the Garage Sale Mysteries franchise, as well as the series When Calls the Heart.

Meanwhile, Huffman pleaded guilty to charges in the admissions scandal last May and served 11 days in prison and was fined $30,000.

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