Congressional Bill Seeks to End Legacy Admissions

A newly introduced congressional bill seeks to end the practice of legacy admission.

Could the end of legacy admission be near? As loyal readers of our college admissions blog know all too well, we have long called for America’s elite universities to do away with legacy admission, an anachronistic admissions practice more befitting an aristocracy than our supposed American meritocracy. In fact, we’ve long wondered why so many take aim at practices like Affirmative Action — offering preferential treatment to candidates on the basis of their race — when there is lower hanging fruit such as offering preferential treatment to the children and grandchildren of alumni and major donors. Why does Affirmative Action inspire such rage (it’s always the most controversial topic on our college admissions blog with honorable mention to a transgender swimmer) when legacy admission barely elicits a whimper?

Well, if the populace isn’t going to take to the streets to protest the continued consideration of legacy status in the elite college admissions process, the representatives of the populace might soon take action on their behalf. In a major development in college admissions that could foreshadow the abolition of legacy admissions, Democratic lawmakers introduced a bill in the halls of Congress earlier this week that seeks to amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to forbid universities that participate in federal student aid programs, which include all of our nation’s elite universities, from offering preferential treatment to the progeny of alumni and donors.

As Meredith Deliso reports for ABC News in a piece entitled “Congressional bill seeks to end legacy admissions at colleges,” “The bill was introduced by Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) and Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon) in an attempt to address what they said is an unfair and inequitable admissions process that disproportionately benefits wealthy, white and connected students…The bill would allow the education secretary to waive the legacy preference ban for institutions like historically Black colleges and universities, tribal colleges and minority-serving institutions, which admit high levels of underrepresented students already…The Fair College Admissions for Students Act is introduced as the Supreme Court is poised to hear challenges to affirmative action, which also could have implications for many colleges and universities’ admissions policies.”

We at Ivy Coach salute the efforts of Rep. Bowman and Sen. Merkley as they hope to ban the practice of legacy admission. From atop our soapbox in elite college admissions, we have long been calling for an end to this anachronistic practice. Maybe our clarion calls will soon be heard. Here’s hoping!


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  • Wofford Terriers says:

    It’s certainly valid to criticize legacy/athlete/development preferences. But advocates for change might be more intellectually honest to aver that race-based positive tipping factors are the exact same thing: an unearned benefit that accrues based on some demographic variable unrelated to academic preparation or prospects for success.

    Change advocates also haven’t articulated why it’s so compelling that students fitting their disadvantaged population definition need elite university admissions. The US is blessed with several thousand post-secondary schools, where anyone can reach their potential. Specifying a thumb on the scale for elite schools is similar to mandating that top college basketball programs add white and Asian players because current basketball rules systemically reduce white/Asian participation. The admissions and basketball arguments are logically the same. And yes, the output’s quality goes down in both cases.

  • Mariah Peretti says:

    Border and inflation out of control. Mask and vax mandates making people crazy. Russia about to invade Ukraine with Biden poking the bear and sending troops (they have nukes, Dummy!) and two clown democrats are distracting us with legacy admissions? Like a woman painting her nails while bombs are being dropped around her. Give us all a break! Sheesh! Distract from crises and focus on the ridiculous! That is the Dem agenda!

  • Elisa From LA says:

    Elite colleges want it both ways- to admit poor brown people like me, but don’t want to touch their endowments. And so when I attended Princeton my roommate was a nice Jewish girl from Boston whose father was an investment banker, whom also attended Cornell in the 1980s. The legacies have the money! Most people who are first generation whites or URM’s do not. Schools want to use Zero endowment to pay for all the tuition. If you are running a business you have to see their side too. Not easy. But the schools are hypocritical since they don’t want any whites but want their money. Lot of my white friends at Princeton were treated with hostility- especially by activist blacks. Some were nasty. It makes you angry at the administration for causing strife among us. Overall it was a good experience but they want it bith ways.

  • JT Smithers says:

    Hey Ivy Coach, you state “Every student who completed applications with Ivy Coach and applied to Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Columbia, Dartmouth, Brown, MIT, Duke, and more earned admission.” What about Penn and Cornell?

    • Ivy Coach says:

      Yes, that’s absolutely correct. Not every single one of our students we worked with in the 2021 Early cycle earned admission to Penn and Cornell as each and every one of our students earned admission to Harvard, Yale, Princeton, MIT, Dartmouth, Brown, Columbia, Duke, and more in the 2021 Early cycle.

  • JT Smithers says:

    Not too shabby.

  • Jeremy Snodgrass says:

    How is Ivy Coach any different than legacy admission? After all, in the end they are the same- it is money in exchange for favorable admissions results.

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