CT General Assembly considers eliminating legacy admissions
Friday, February 2, 2024
Connecticut is considering ending legacy admissions -- the practice of giving preference to family members of alumni -- at all public and private colleges.
The proposal comes after the U.S. Supreme Court's 2023 decision ending affirmative action. Yale University has seen legacy admissions decline, with legacy students making up just 11% of the Class of 2027.
Schools opposed to ending legacy admissions say it'll disrupt their autonomy in the admissions process and could harm fundraising efforts.
Amy Dowell, executive director of Education Reform Now Connecticut, is convinced that transparency in admissions is what's needed most.
"I think what's important right now is that we understand who is being admitted, but we also understand who's applying," she said. "I think that what we need is a greater level of transparency, in terms of who's considered a viable candidate at some of these colleges."
Similar legislation was considered in 2022 and met with the same kinds of opposition the new proposal is getting.
This isn't new territory, however. Colorado banned legacy admissions at its public universities in 2021. A Virginia bill similar to Colorado's recently passed that state's General Assembly and awaits the governor's signature.
Some schools are embracing the change. Last year, Wesleyan University ended legacy admissions. Dowell said she feels this has been a long time coming, and sees the trend as part of a much larger understanding of social oppression.
"People recognize that institutional racism and systems of oppression, like redlining, they are being highlighted and acknowledged," she said, "and it's an important step forward in conversations around fairness and equity in our country."
One study found between 2014 and 2019, Harvard University accepted legacy students at a 33% rate, five times higher than its overall acceptance rate. The study also noted 70% of Harvard University applicants are white, and only 40% of its overall admissions were white.
Support for this reporting was provided by Lumina Foundation.
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