Dynarski calls the legacy admission bump 'unconscionable'

October 30, 2018

As universities hone their admissions processes to reflect fairness and build a diverse student body, legacy students still have an advantage, warns Nicholas Kristof in the New York Times. Susan Dynarski, Ford School professor, agrees. “Legacy preferences give a leg up to applicants who have typically led privileged lives,” she said. 

The October 27, 2018 “Liberal Hypocrisy in College Admissions?” opinion column recounts several studies that quantified the added weight being a legacy gives an applicant. One such study from Princeton cited in the piece valued it at a 160-point bump on an SAT score out of 1600 points. 

Dynarski lambasted the legacy practice, saying “It’s the polar opposite of affirmative action, which boosts applicants who have faced adversity. It’s unconscionable for a handful of elite colleges to amass enormous tax-advantaged endowments and use them to perpetuate privilege in this way.”

Read the full column on The New York Times

Susan Dynarski is a professor of public policy, education and economics at the University of Michigan, where she holds appointments at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, School of Education, Department of Economics and Institute for Social Research and serves as co-director of the Education Policy Initiative. She is a faculty research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research and the Center for Analysis of Postsecondary Education and Employment.