The BBC said Harvard University is facing an image crisis after a landmark court case revealed that the university gives relatives of graduates an advantage in admissions, perpetuating social inequality in the US.
In June 2023 under groundbreaking power decision of the Supreme Court eliminated the so-called “affirmative action”making it illegal to give priority in college admissions to underrepresented minorities.
Harvard authorities recognized that the change would make it more difficult to recruit a diverse student body.
Officially, the university has significantly increased its efforts towards social integration in recent years. For example, in 2023 it charged $54,269 per year in tuition, but Harvard tuition is free for students whose families earn less than $65,000. dollars, while families earning up to PLN 150,000 dollars pay no more than 10%. their income annually. Over the past four decades, the school has also increased its enrollment of non-white and Latino students from 17 percent to more than 50 percent.
BBC: The school prefers children of graduates
However, the court proceedings revealed what many had long suspected – that the school preferred the children of graduates, the BBC noted.
Court documents related to the case revealed that Harvard awards points to “ALDC” candidates – people with the so-called “legacy”: athletes, relatives of donors and children of faculty or staff. Although only 5 percent applications come from “ALDC” students, they constitute about one third of those accepted. About 70 percent candidates were white, the BBC emphasized.
Meanwhile, a study conducted in 2019 by the National Bureau of Economic Research showed that 75 percent white students admitted to Harvard as “ALDC” would be rejected if they were treated as white students with no connections.
“If we want kids of all backgrounds to feel like they have a chance to get into leadership positions, we need universities to admit students in a way that supports greater equality of opportunity,” said John Friedman, a professor at Brown University.
Donyae Jenkins, a student at the renowned university, said that after the Supreme Court’s ruling, “many non-white students may feel like this is a place they don’t deserve.” Students interviewed by the BBC said the court’s decision to abandon affirmative action “favored wealthy and white students.”
Harvard Leadership: The university’s practice helps cement strong bonds between the university and its graduates
Harvard leadership said the university’s practice “helps cement strong bonds between the university and its graduates” that last a lifetime. Attention was also drawn to the “generous support” provided to the university by its graduates.
“While alumni support Harvard for many reasons, the committee is concerned that eliminating any consideration of whether an applicant’s parent attended Harvard or Radcliffe will diminish this important sense of commitment and support,” the university said.
Harvard is also currently under investigation by the United States Department of Education. The university was accused of overwhelmingly favoring white, wealthy students, prioritizing applicants with “heritage” and the children of donors.
Main photo source: Shutterstock