Colorado leads the way in closing the door on legacy admissions (subscription)

By: | July 16, 2021

With little national attention, Colorado in the spring became the first state to ban the controversial privilege of legacy admission at public universities, effective with the application cycle that begins on August 1.

The ban is largely symbolic; several public universities in Colorado had already dropped the practice or never used it. Only 14 percent of public universities nationwide give preference to the children of graduates, compared to 43 percent of private, nonprofit colleges and 73 percent of the most selective institutions, according to the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers and National Association for College Admission Counseling.

But it’s a rebuke of what critics call one of the most glaring advantages in higher education enjoyed by White and higher-income families — which has survived broad public opposition, the Varsity Blues bribery scandal and embarrassing disclosures about preferences exposed by a lawsuit alleging bias in admissions against Asian Americans at Harvard University. Legacy admission also appears to be withstanding the resurgence of the racial and social justice movement following the killing of George Floyd.

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