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Legacies, full pay and donors. Misguided anger?


Replies to: Legacies, full pay and donors. Misguided anger?

  • theloniusmonktheloniusmonk Registered User Posts: 2,102 Senior Member
    "Even if legacy, mega donors and full pay applicants receive a “bump, hook, preference, thumb on the scale or is a tie breaker”, isnt that actually ok."

    I think it's fair criticism you received in combining legacy, full-pay and mega donors, because they're not treated the same way. Full-pay is not a hook by any stretch, it may be a slight thumb on the scale during ED and coming off the waitlists, but that's not a preference like legacy (Obama, Kushner) or mega-donor. The lawyer in the Harvard case in the deposition basically asked Fitzsimmons (dean of admissions), aren't you more interested in the applicant's family than the applicant.

    Is it ok? No, it's not, as the analysis provided in the race thread on Harvard, legacies have a 33% admit rate, to about 3% for unhooked RD applicants. That's 11x difference for something the applicant did not earn, did nothing to get it, that's egregious from an equality, justice, point of view. I'm not sure about the whole doing it for the greater good, do you think Charles Kushner cared about helping URMs when he made the donation to Harvard to get his kid in? No - he cared about getting his kid in.
  • lookingforwardlookingforward Registered User Posts: 31,460 Senior Member
    This is going in circles. Rich person, celeb, or hooked kid gets into a tippy top and people rush to claim preference.
    How do you know they weren't qualified. Or to what extent they were?

    Then the argument swings a little moralistic. How there shouldn't be any considerations past what you think merit is, why don't they apply with no tags? And feuled by certainty it's unfair because someone else or some media site said so. Or xx years ago, there was some study, somewhere, that you interpret some way.

    Their actual apps haven't been released, that Iknow of. There's just some hearsay. And a lot of conviction, but based on what? Ironically, I think OP was trying to get us to come down off our high horses and consider more than whether we "think" things should be different. Again, based on what?
  • Data10Data10 Registered User Posts: 2,791 Senior Member
    Or xx years ago, there was some study, somewhere, that you interpret some way.

    Their actual apps haven't been released, that Iknow of. There's just some hearsay. And a lot of conviction,
    A regression analysis with similar findings (in regards to legacies) by both the Plantiff's expert and the Harvard Office of Internal Research is more than "just some hearsay." Harvard doesn't deny this strong legacy preference in the lawsuit. Instead Harvard claims legacy preference is one of the key reasons for discrepancy between Asian and White applicants (legacies are more likely to be White and less likely to be Asian).
    How do you know they weren't qualified. Or to what extent they were?
    "Qualified" is a vague term. There are no doubt many legacy admits who are highly qualified, including many who are more qualified than the typical Harvard admit. However, there is also a preference given to many legacy admits and are many legacies who would not been admitted without their legacy status. I'd agree that if you just choose a legacy admit at random, you'd have no way to know that particular student's qualification and whether they'd be admitted without being a legacy. Of course one could say the same thing about for nearly all non-athlete hooks.
  • lookingforwardlookingforward Registered User Posts: 31,460 Senior Member
    "are many legacies who would not been admitted without their legacy status"

    No, you don't know this means underqualified. Only that there's a strong number at H, they get an extra look, may tip in if a tie. But not their apps. Most observers rely on 2nd or 3rd hand into.

    Preference is a vague term, but loaded with the implication they "prefer" more legacies. It is not the operative term in reviewing. Rarely do kids tie, when considering the whole picture.

    What gets me is the certainty among some. And how some extend it to assumptions about other hooked kids. Imo, athletes are the category to fret about. That's where abject preference plays harder.
  • bgbg4usbgbg4us Registered User Posts: 1,112 Senior Member
    @privatebanker - your kiddo sounds amazing. i hope she ends ups at a school that she loves, and that loves her back.

    I am completely out of the this scene with colleges. Yet i know two kids who by their grandparent's marriage are step/half relatives with a world-renowned wealthy family; and these kids got into the school they wanted to because of a 9 figure donation. 9 figures!! The kids were nice, but never in my kids gifted classes in elementary/MS or HS. Many parents in our community were slightly frustrated with this, but what can we do? It sort of takes the fight out of us.
  • yearstogoyearstogo Registered User Posts: 613 Member
    The private colleges and universities should be free to pick and choose as they wish but they should not benefit from Federal tax benefits (nor should the donors as they are getting a benefit) for donations.
  • CU123CU123 Registered User Posts: 3,149 Senior Member
    @Riversider Equal rights to me means equal treatment, which does not include being able to do everything that a person with more money is able to do. I for one would not be very happy if I couldn't spend my hard earned income on my own children.
  • vpa2019vpa2019 Registered User Posts: 256 Junior Member
    I can understand the frustration but if that family donated $100million or more to a school think of what that means to the school as a whole? For example, in one of the articles posted previously in this thread Charles Johnson donated $250million to Yale as part of the construction of the new residential colleges. If his grandchild is accepted to Yale partly or completely because of this gift one is that really unfair? And as mentioned previously, what about athletes that are accepted with stats below what is required of non-athletes? Athletes bring in money as well and since ultimately colleges are a business, although they may have genuine intentions of leveling the playing field they are never going to turn away the children, grandchildren or other family member of a mega-donor.
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 75,529 Senior Member
    If you have a legacy presence it drives giving

    While this seems to be taken as an article of faith, it is not obvious that this is true. At least one study says that any difference is not statistically significant.

    Legacy preference may be more of a tool to tip the admit pool toward less FA need, so that colleges can stretch their FA budget to cover what they define as "full need" to a limited number of FA-needy students without having to be need-aware. I.e. by being able to claim that they are need-blind gives them a marketing advantage, even though they will not be admitting more FA-needy students (or those with greater FA need) than otherwise. It could be that, without legacy preference, more colleges would have to be need-aware to keep the FA budget in check.
  • privatebankerprivatebanker Registered User Posts: 3,911 Senior Member
    edited March 4

    Not sure we are reading the same thread. Sure some folks have hardened positions.

    I am not in an existential crisis over this and only thought it might make for some thoughtful and interesting dialogue.

    Especially considering how smart I find the cc crowd to be.

    And it’s not my thought that all three are the same.

    It’s just three financially preferential paths to school.

    And not to disagree but full pay can be a big deal if you are the wait lister who loses your spot to the full pay kid.

    But your Kushner example. I don’t care if he was altruistically motivated. That “whatever sized” mega gift helps a lot of others and needs.

    And so we know that he wasn’t a really good student too? I don’t have any idea.

    And the Obama child I am sure brings out applications from other kids who relate to her which is a good thing.

    But I am not the judge of this thread. And would like to move over to the side please.
  • vpa2019vpa2019 Registered User Posts: 256 Junior Member
    Personally I don't believe any college is truly need blind otherwise they wouldn't ask whether you are applying for FA on the common app.
  • vpa2019vpa2019 Registered User Posts: 256 Junior Member
    edited March 4
    And although results the studies have indicated little connection between legacy acceptance and giving from my personal polling of friends and family over the years...giving has gone down or is stopped completely when kids are rejected as legacies. I've stopped giving to my alma maters and now give to my children's schools.
  • MmeZeeZeeMmeZeeZee Registered User Posts: 638 Member

    With respect to the meaning of equal rights, I disagree. Equal rights means equal opportunity, not "equal treatment".

    Suppose you want to help some friends get out of a forest before a storm. If one person is in quicksand and another person is on a bicycle, giving them both a helmet is not "equal rights". Surely you can see that it would be cruel in those circumstances to tell the person in quicksand "well I don't know why you're sitting there in a bunch of sand, this guy brought a bike". Particularly not if they had arrived there not of their own will (suppose their parents dumped them in the woods in those exact places).

    I do agree that people should be able to spend their own hard earned money (or inherited money, or not-hard-earned money) on private clubs and private schools. I know I do.

    However I do not agree that private clubs should be able to shield revenue from taxes as non-profits, if they are not providing a true public good.

    There is not equal opportunity or equal rights in the US. It's not Harvard's job alone to solve that problem. We have to solve that as a country.

    However, they should be accountable for their charitable status. And public universities should not function as those types of clubs. That's not what taxpayer money is for.
  • privatebankerprivatebanker Registered User Posts: 3,911 Senior Member
    edited March 4
    @ucbalumnus Good point. I don’t know if legacy preference matters to those who make the annual donations.

    But I have seen a lot of posts, where the student doesn’t get in and the parent says they won’t get another dime from us.

    And how people say they interview at select schools to help with the legacy boost. Despite thinking it never matters who they meet.

    And when asked about giving behaviors in a study it’s an “article of faith” as you mention that they are telling the truth. And it’s purely about mission and not personal interest.
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