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Report Criticizes Legacy Admissions

October 28, 2022

A new report by Education Reform Now strongly criticizes legacy admissions.

“Legacy preferences provide a birthright advantage to the children of alumni in the college admissions process,” the report said. “They represent a textbook example of systemic racism, since most beneficiaries of legacy preferences are white, while students of color and students from low- and middle-income households are much more likely to be the first in their families to go to college. After a century of use, eliminating legacy preferences is long overdue, but it will be absolutely necessary for them to end should the Supreme Court bar the consideration of race in admissions, as it is expected to do.”

The report noted that there is strong opposition to legacy preferences in the world of college admissions, and among the general public.

The colleges that continue legacy preferences tend to be on the East Coast. While most colleges that offer legacy preferences are private, the report noted that 80 percent of Virginia’s public colleges do so.

“Many highly ranked universities and colleges enroll more legacies than Black students,” said the report. “If the Supreme Court bans the consideration of race in college admissions and colleges do not end the use of legacy preferences, these enrollment gaps will likely grow even larger.”

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Scott Jaschik

Scott Jaschik, Editor, is one of the three founders of Inside Higher Ed. With Doug Lederman, he leads the editorial operations of Inside Higher Ed, overseeing news content, opinion pieces, career advice, blogs and other features. Scott is a leading voice on higher education issues, quoted regularly in publications nationwide, and publishing articles on colleges in publications such as The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, Salon, and elsewhere. He has been a judge or screener for the National Magazine Awards, the Online Journalism Awards, the Folio Editorial Excellence Awards, and the Education Writers Association Awards. Scott served as a mentor in the community college fellowship program of the Hechinger Institute on Education and the Media, of Teachers College, Columbia University. He is a member of the board of the Education Writers Association. From 1999-2003, Scott was editor of The Chronicle of Higher Education. Scott grew up in Rochester, N.Y., and graduated from Cornell University in 1985. He lives in Washington.

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