Calls to End Legacy Preferences for College Admissions

Calls to End Legacy Preferences for College Admissions
Susan Dutca-Lovell

In an effort to "make college fair," Democratic Presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg is calling for an end to giving college alumni's children preference when it comes to getting into college.

Legacy admissions policies at select colleges and universities give extra weight to applicants who have relatives who previously graduated from the school. Some experts claim that say it is "like adding up to 160 points to an applicant's SAT score and makes some students three times more likely to gain admittance." According to such critics, the students who "benefit most" from legacy preferences at elite schools are "already advantaged, white students;" making it more difficult for low-income, middle-income and first-generation students to "break through."

According to a survey conducted by Inside Higher Ed, roughly 42 percent of admissions officers at private colleges and universities use legacy as a factor in college admissions. At public colleges, only 6 percent reported using legacy as a factor. For some schools, the money accumulated from giving children of alumni special consideration goes towards helping other students with financial aid.

Bloomberg is the first Presidential candidate to address legacy policies for college admissions and supports "legislation to require institutions receiving federal aid to make public admission rates for legacy and non-legacy admittance along with enrollment and completion rates by race, income and legacy." The timely proposal coincides with the recent announcement made by his alma mater, Johns Hopkins University, which recently phased out legacy preference in its college admissions process.

Did you know that there is such a thing as legacy scholarships? Legacy scholarships encourage a family tradition of attending a particular school from which a family member graduated by providing college scholarships to children, grandchildren, and so on, of alumni. In addition to meeting the genetic requirement for the legacy scholarships, applicants are also required to meet all of the standard academic, athletic, extracurricular and other scholarship requirements. Just as in the case of legacy preference for college admissions, just being family won't cut it when it comes to winning legacy scholarships for college! In your opinion, should legacy preference be eliminated in the college admissions process? Why or why not?

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