There was recently a good piece in “The Daily Princetonian,” the newspaper of Princeton University, on Ivy League legacy admissions that we figured we’d share with the readers of our college admissions blog. The piece focuses on how legacy admissions impacts each member institution of the Ivy League. In fact, as reported by “The Daily Princetonian,” since the Class of 2000, between 12% and 16% of incoming classes at Harvard College consist of legacy students. At Yale University, between 8% and 13% of incoming classes consist of legacy students. At Dartmouth College, this statistic ranges from 8% to 14%. At Princeton University, it’s between 10% and 15%. At Cornell University, it ranges from 14% and 17%. That makes Cornell the biggest supporter of legacy admission, if gauging by this standard alone, although comparable data for the University of Pennsylvania, Columbia University, and Brown University is not available.
If it’s any indication, for the Class of 2018, 13% of the class at the University of Pennsylvania are legacies. And as for admission rates of legacies, according to “The Daily Princetonian,” “Harvard’s legacy acceptance rate has wavered around 30 percent, Yale’s between 20 and 25 percent, and Brown does not keep track of the data. Cornell, Penn, Dartmouth and Columbia University did not release this data.” So if you compare these admissions statistics with those of non-legacy applicants, the difference is staggering indeed. Anyone who should suggest that legacy status doesn’t help one’s case for admission, well, they aren’t looking at the data.
Like Richard Kahlenberg, we’ve long supported the notion that legacy status is a violation of tax law. After all, when alumni donate money to their alma maters, they shouldn’t be getting anything in return (at least in accordance with U.S. Tax Law). And yet these statistics clearly indicate that they are indeed getting something in return. And the Ivy League colleges aren’t the only universities in America that support the policy of legacy admission. It’s the case at many institutions across the country.
Do you think legacy admission is a violation of U.S. Tax Law? We’re curious to hear your thoughts on the always controversial topic.