Survey: Nearly 80 Percent of College Students Want Legacy Admissions Eliminated

Being the child of an alumnus should not give a college applicant an admissions edge, according to a 2021 Student Voice survey conducted by Inside Higher Ed and College Pulse. For more information, read Inside Higher Ed’s article, featuring additional survey results and analysis.

Of the more than 2,000 college students surveyed, 79 percent support (54 percent “strongly”; 25 percent “somewhat”) the end of legacy admissions. This follows Colorado’s ban of legacy admissions for all state colleges and universities and the Varsity Blue scandal.  The University of California system, the nation’s largest public university system, has not considered legacy in its admissions process since the 1990s.

According to the research, legacy students comprise a significant share of students among the many competitive (mostly private) U.S. colleges and universities. In recent years, Harvard’s graduating class is thought to be more than one-third legacy, making admission to Harvard even more difficult for qualified students without connections.