The Ivy Coach Daily

March 16, 2022

NY Bill on Legacy Admission and Early Decision

A bill proposed in the New York State Assembly seeks to ban legacy admission and Early Decision at public and private universities in New York.

A bill has been introduced in the New York Assembly that proposes outlawing both public and private universities in New York State from considering legacy status in admissions and from offering binding Early Decision policies. Perhaps inspired by legislation in Colorado that banned public universities from considering legacy status in admissions and a similar bill in Connecticut concerning legacy preference, this latest piece of legislation, dubbed the Fair College Admissions Act, was introduced by New York state senator Andrew Gounardes.

As Scott Jaschik reports for Inside Higher Ed in a piece entitled “Attacking Legacy and Early-Decision Admissions,” “The New York legislation also comes as the U.S. Congress is considering a bill that would deny federal student aid to colleges with legacy admissions. ’Getting into the college of your choice should be a matter of ability and hard work. It should not be based on one’s family connections or ability to accept an offer without knowing about financial aid options,” New York state senator Andrew Gounardes, sponsor of the Fair College Admissions Act, said at a virtual press conference to promote the bill. He specifically criticized private colleges in the state for their admissions practices and said they are creating ’doors’ not to let people in but to block access.”

And where do we stand on the newly introduced Fair College Admissions Act? We think the legislation does not pass muster. You see, we fully support the elimination of legacy preference in college admissions. As we at Ivy Coach have long argued, it’s an anachronistic practice more befitting an aristocracy than our American meritocracy. But a state lawmaker trying to ban colleges from having Early Decision policies? Who does this state senator think he is to tell a business — and a college is a business — how they can and cannot operate? Who does he think he is to tell a college that they can’t offer preference in admissions to applicants who show a preference for them? Maybe such legislation would be appropriate in present-day Russia. But it has no place in the United States of America. Nice try to the state senator for attempting to sneak in eliminating Early Decision in his proposed legislation. He didn’t fool us. And we suspect he won’t fool the New York State Assembly.

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