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US Education Department Targets Harvard’s Legacy Admissions Policy in Investigation!

by Editorial Desk
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“US Education Department Launches Investigation into Harvard’s Legacy Admissions Policy”

In a significant move, the US Department of Education has initiated an inquiry into Harvard University’s legacy admissions policies. These policies have long been under scrutiny for granting preferential treatment to applicants with family connections to alumni, typically benefiting white students. The recent Supreme Court decision that struck down affirmative action as a means to diversify college campuses has brought renewed attention to the practice.

The investigation was triggered by a complaint filed on behalf of Black and Latino community groups in New England on July 3rd. These groups assert that legacy applicants to Harvard are up to seven times more likely to gain admission and represent nearly a third of each incoming class, with about 70% being white. In 2019, approximately 28% of the admitted students had familial ties to the university. This practice has raised concerns, as it seemingly prevents qualified applicants of color from securing spots, which are instead awarded to white applicants based solely on their family background.

Harvard has confirmed that it is reviewing its admissions policies to ensure compliance with the law following the Supreme Court’s ruling on affirmative action. The university remains dedicated to fostering a diverse student body and encouraging applications from students of various backgrounds.

Recent developments at other institutions shed light on the broader conversation about legacy admissions. Wesleyan University in Connecticut recently decided to end its practice of providing preferential treatment to legacy students. Several other prestigious colleges, including Amherst College, Carnegie Mellon University, and Johns Hopkins University, have also eliminated legacy admissions in recent years.

Legacy policies have come under scrutiny in the wake of the Supreme Court’s ruling against affirmative action and the consideration of race in college admissions. As institutions of higher education seek new ways to achieve student diversity, the NAACP president and CEO, Derrick Johnson, applauded the US Education Department for taking steps to ensure that the higher education system is equitable for all Americans, rather than just a privileged few.

The issue is further compounded by a study conducted by researchers from Harvard and Brown, which found that wealthier students are twice as likely to be admitted to elite schools compared to their lower- or middle-income counterparts with similar standardized test scores. Legacy admissions, along with athletic recruitment and extracurricular credentials, play a role in perpetuating this advantage for high-income students at Ivy League institutions and other elite colleges like Stanford, MIT, Duke, and the University of Chicago.

As this investigation unfolds, it will likely continue to raise important questions about fairness and inclusivity in the college admissions process. The outcome may pave the way for more equitable policies that ensure every talented and deserving student has an opportunity to attend their dream college, regardless of their family background or financial status.

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