ACLU Statement Endorsing the Fair Admissions for Students Act Which Would End Preferences for Legacies and Children of Donors

February 2, 2022 12:30 pm

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WASHINGTON — Today, Rep. Jamaal Bowman and Sen. Jeff Merkley introduced the Fair Admissions for Students Act — a bill that would amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to block colleges and universities from giving legacy students and students of donors preferential treatment in the college admissions process. The bill would ban legacy admissions practices from any institution of higher education that participates in federal student aid programs.

Carlos Moreno, senior campaign strategist with the ACLU, had the following reaction:

“All students deserve a fair chance to get accepted into the university of their dreams, but legacy admissions policies overwhelmingly work to benefit white and wealthy students while excluding first generation, low-income, and students of color from access to higher education.

“Legacy admissions only serve to uphold systemic inequality in higher education. At some of the top universities in this country, more white legacy students were admitted than Black and Latinx students combined. These practices are not only inequitable, but they prevent universities from creating a more diverse student body on their campuses that would benefit all students.

“Ending the practice of legacy admissions is a critical step to address long-standing inequities and create more access for underrepresented students in higher education.

The Fair Admissions for Students Act would help address our country’s long history of race discrimination and inequities in education. We urge Congress to move swiftly to hold hearings on the Fair Admissions for Students Act, move the act to a vote, and then pass it.”

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