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Should colleges end legacy admissions? Show more Show less
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At many colleges a tradition of legacy admissions, accepting the admission of students with parents or other relatives who previously attended, is still an active practice. But is this fair? And should it be continued?

Yes, colleges should end legacy admissions Show more Show less

Legacy admissions preferences should be ended immediately. They perpetuate harm towards minority students, students of lower-income, and lesser means. They give more privilege to those already privileged and reduce college admissions into unethical financial transactions.
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It disadvantages low-income students and favors the wealthy

Legacy admissions is essentially a large affirmative action program for wealthy students. The existence of legacy preferences limits access for high-achieving low and middle-income students.

The Argument

Colleges should end legacy admissions because it overwhelmingly disadvantages low-income students and favors wealthy ones. Legacy admissions are affirmative action programs for wealthy students.[1] An education software company recently gathered data on legacy applicants and was able to estimate that on average, the admissions rate for legacies was around 31% higher than the official admissions rates for all applicants.[2] Harvard, an elite university, known for its legacy admissions, the acceptance rate for legacy students is about 33%, compared with an overall acceptance rate of under 6%.[2] A recent lawsuit against the school, sparked the question “What is so special about wealthy people that Harvard needs to have them overrepresented by a factor of six on its campus?”.[2] Legacy admissions are usually the children of very wealthy parents who have the financial means to support and donate to the schools they attended. Colleges admit legacy kids at higher rates in order to get hefty financial support from alumni.[3] This means that legacy kids are being admitted because of their wealthy financial status; it helps them and severely disadvantages those of lesser means. Colleges should end legacy admissions because it hurts low-income students by way of favoring wealthier students.

Counter arguments

Colleges should not put an end to legacy admissions because they actually help to serve lower-income students. One of the biggest reasons for admitting legacy students is because alumni tend to give and donate more to institutions with legacy preferences that might favor their children. The financial support that these alumni offer is invaluable and very significant. Thus, the money they donate can be used to fund programs that help students of lesser means or to give scholarships and financial aid to students of lower-income.[4] Getting rid of legacy admissions could mean a decrease in alumni donations, this would put colleges at risk, and could lead to them not having enough money to help support lower-income students. Legacy admissions help to fuel the system that allows low-income students to get the benefits they need.

Proponents

Premises

Rejecting the premises

References

  1. https://www.thecrimson.com/article/2011/5/11/admissions-fitzsimmons-legacy-legacies/
  2. https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/jan/23/elite-schools-ivy-league-legacy-admissions-harvard-wealthier-whiter
  3. https://online.wsj.com/public/resources/documents/Polk_Alumni.htm
  4. https://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2019/04/legacy-admissions-preferences-ivy/586465/
This page was last edited on Monday, 23 Nov 2020 at 03:00 UTC

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