Jul 18, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Poll: College students say legacy admissions aren't fair

Data: Generation Lab; Chart: Axios Visuals
Data: Generation Lab; Chart: Axios Visuals

Three in four young Americans believe it's unfair for colleges to consider applicants' legacy status when making admissions decisions, according to a poll by Generation Lab provided exclusively to Axios.

Why it matters: The fairness of legacy admissions — giving applicants a leg up if they are directly related to an alumnus — has become a nationwide debate after the end of affirmative action. The practice favors rich, white students, Axios' Felix Salmon reports.

  • Civil rights groups in Boston have recently filed a complaint with the Department of Education challenging legacy admissions at Harvard, Axios Boston's Steph Solis reports.

Between the lines: Students and recent grads surveyed by Generation Lab are likely to say legacy admissions aren't fair regardless of their household income. That figure is based on personal earnings for recent grads and family income for current students.

  • 80% of those with household incomes below $26,000 a year say it's probably or definitely unfair. That share remains high — at 68% — when considering students with household incomes of more than $130,000 per year.
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