Johns Hopkins University Drops Legacy Admission

We would argue that this man’s remarkable generosity has offered his alma mater the flexibility to eliminate legacy admission (photo credit: Rubenstein).

As our loyal readers know all too well, Ivy Coach opposes the practice of legacy admission and for many years we have called for our nation’s elite colleges to end this anachronistic practice. It thus gives us great joy to share the news today that Johns Hopkins University has — for the first time publicly — announced the elimination of the practice of offering preferential treatment to the progeny of alumni in their admissions process. Over the last several years, the Baltimore, Maryland-based school had quietly abolished the practice but it likely took years of analyzing the data to see the costs and benefits for the school to have the chutzpah to announce the move publicly.

JHU Proudly Announces Elimination of Legacy Admission

As Nick Anderson reports for The Washington Post in a piece entitled “Hopkins says scrapping ‘legacy’ preference has boosted campus diversity,” “Now, Hopkins officials are proclaiming their stance publicly after seeing evidence that ditching the legacy preference helped the university build a more diverse student body without sacrificing academic quality. Not long ago, freshmen at the university with legacy connections outnumbered those who had enough financial need to qualify for federal Pell Grants. The opposite is true for the Class of 2023…Among prominent private research universities, Hopkins joins the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and California Institute of Technology in rejecting the use of a legacy preference.”

Mayor Bloomberg’s Generosity Allowed JHU to Take a Stand Against Legacy Admission

Of course, we don’t need to mine the legacy data to put forward a theory on why Johns Hopkins University had the audacity to join the likes of MIT and Caltech in no longer considering legacy status in admissions. Our theory? Johns Hopkins University boasts the single most generous donor of all university donors: Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The man has been donating enormous sums to his alma mater for many years — up to $1.5 billion in fact — and he recently pledged to donate an additional $1.8 billion towards scholarships earmarked for low-income students. Yes, that’s billion with a b. These donations from the enormously generous Mayor Bloomberg offer Johns Hopkins a great sense of comfort and ultimately the freedom to not rely as heavily on annual alumni donations (though they still love them!). So legacy admission, a practice fueled by inspiring alumni to donate money, was no longer a necessity for the school. Instead, they could do the right thing and eliminate the archaic practice more fitting an aristocracy.

We Salute Johns Hopkins University for Eliminating Legacy Admission

Nonetheless, we salute Johns Hopkins University for bravely joining the ranks of MIT and Caltech in publicly eliminating legacy admission. Schools like Harvard (John A. Paulson) and Stanford (Phil Knight) have tons of major donors as well and they haven’t announced the elimination of legacy admission. So credit is due to Johns Hopkins. Johns Hopkins University, we salute you! May other universities across the land soon follow your remarkable example.


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  • Harry says:

    Lol. What a clever marketing gimmick.

    JHU has had terrible alum support for years, so shooting legacy admissions is a very low risk strategy for them and it also generates a lot of positive press from the woke press.

  • JPC says:

    Love Ivy Coach but you took the Vandy kid to task for lazy reporting and you are giving the WP a pass. That article was plenty lazy as well. Extraordinarily vague as to what the “steps” were that reduced the legacy impact. The numbers cited didn’t show anything without some data on the overall number of legacy applicants. Absent that, this could be dismissed as just virtue signalling in the face of declining alumni interest.

    • Ivy Coach says:

      Your’e absolutely right. We agree with your feedback. Absent data, there is nothing to stop Johns Hopkins from offering preferential treatment to the child of a major legacy donor — irrespective of their grand announcement on the end of legacy admission. We’d like Johns Hopkins to start publishing data on the percentage of legacy students admitted over the next several years. Let’s see if that number really does fall off. Of course, JHU won’t be publishing that data.

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