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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