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Harvard Study Reveals Affirmative Action for Rich Applicants

The Supreme Court recently outlawed most racial preferences in college admissions. However, a new study from Ivy League researchers indicates another form of affirmative action that tends to dominate exclusive institutions of higher learning: preference for wealth.

The Harvard study involved the eight Ivy League schools, plus four other highly-selective schools. For applicants with the same SAT or ACT score, the data show that children from families in the top one percent of income ranking were 34 percent more likely to be admitted into these schools than the average applicant. Those from the top 0.1 percent were more than twice as likely to be accepted.

Study researchers said, “The conclusion from this study is the Ivy League doesn’t have low-income students because it doesn’t want low-income students. ... Are these highly selective private colleges in America taking kids from very high-income, influential families and basically channeling them to remain at the top in the next generation?”

The study indicates that legacy admissions, or students given preferences because of alumni parents, is a large driver of outcomes that prioritize the wealthy over other similarly deserving students. So, too, are admission slots for certain sports like rowing, fencing, lacrosse, or equestrian, that tend to be populated by the wealthy because of high participation costs and upper-class cultural values.

The one notable exception is M.I.T., which is known for not offering admissions preferences to either legacy applicants or athletes. Stuart Schmill, dean of admissions at M.I.T. said, “I think the most important thing here is talent is distributed equally but opportunity is not. Our admissions process is designed to account for the different opportunities students have based on their income. It’s really incumbent upon our process to tease out the difference between talent and privilege.”

Possible Preaching Angle:

If God doesn't treat the rich or poor or different racial groups favorably, then we shouldn't either.

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