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Legacy Admissions Chopping Block Will Mortally Wound Ivy League Exclusions!

Supreme Court Played Itself!

Amherst College chose to end the admissions preference for legacies, and why many other top schools will surely be following suit. Amherst’s decision sends a strong message to the college’s rivals, not least because it’s been greeted with near-universal praise beyond academia. Indeed, it’s hard for most people to find a downside to ending legacy admissions. Especially since you don't want the poor and disadvantaged to have preference why give it to people just because their most likely white ancestors did. Mostly white because people of color were denied access historically.

An applicant normally has legacy status at a college if a member of the applicant's immediate family attends or attended the college, but at certain schools it might also mean a grandparent, aunt or uncle, or cousin. What's the argument for legacy admissions? According to the AP, supporters of the policy say it builds an alumni community, and encourages donations. Ivy League and other top schools typically admit legacies at two to five times their overall admission rates. Among top universities, the University of Notre Dame and Georgetown University are known to weigh legacy status heavily in their application processes. MIT doesn't consider legacy or alumni relations but for schools like Harvard “For the Class of 2019, about 28 percent of the class were legacies with a parent or other relative who went to Harvard,” the current annual average for Harvard is 33% of admissions are legacies. Legacies usually have wealthier parents who are materially positioned to be more generous donors than non-legacy or affirmative action parents who have children accepted based on merit instead of money or lack thereof.

Kyra Tyler used to work as an admission official at Brandeis University, a private college in Waltham MA. with a long social justice streak, advocating behind closed doors for underrepresented Black, Hispanic and Asian students, After all, she had been hired in the early 2000s specifically to recruit them. But if recruiting students was one challenge, admitting them was another. “At the end of the process, we would look to see who we had [recruited] and typically it would be like, 'Oh, Kyra, you need to take this particular student out," Tyler recalled recently in an interview.

Tyler said one time her boss explicitly asked her to remove a young Black man from the pool of candidates in favor of a donor’s son, who was white and had worse grades and test scores. And it didn’t end there. She said the well-connected student also received a generous merit scholarship — a tuition discount — even though his family could easily afford to pay.

Watching the gaming and favoritism in college admissions and financial aid was “personally devastating” to Tyler. “As a Black person, to see we were being used as sort of the pawn and rarely won the prize, it was really upsetting," she said.

She left that job just three years after she started.

So even with Affirmative Action College admission is often an insider’s game that usually favors white and upper-income students — and one need look no further than the Varsity Blues scandal for evidence of the extreme lengths rich parents are willing to go to guarantee coveted admissions slots. With the U.S. Supreme Court now banning any consideration of race in college admissions, there will soon be even fewer opportunities for students of color to win access or financial aid. With the exception of HBCU's.

Steven Burd, a researcher at New America, a nonprofit focused on public policy, called the ban on race considerations "affirmative action for the rich." “A lot of people believe that college admission and financial aid is rigged to benefit low-income students and minority students. In fact, the opposite is true,” Burd said. “The advantaged have almost all of the advantages in college admissions, and increasingly in college financial aid.”

That's what his team's new research found. They examined 575 selective public and private colleges, including Brandeis, and found that between 1999 and 2020, those institutions collectively spent more than $101 billion of their own financial aid dollars to attract students who lacked dire financial need. The system is basically rigged!

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