ERN Partners with EdMobilizer to End Legacy Admissions in Higher Ed

Higher-Ed Quality & Affordability

October 5, 2021

ERN Partners with EdMobilizer to End Legacy Admissions in Higher Ed

#LeaveYourLegacy campaign launches national boycott of alumni donations

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Oct. 5, 2021)—Education Reform Now is pleased to announce its partnership with EdMobilizer on a “Leave Your Legacy” campaign that calls on college students and alumni to pledge to withhold donations until their schools end the discriminatory practice of applying a legacy preference in university admissions.

The legacy preference conveyed by public and private colleges to applicants who count at least one family member as an alumnus is worth the equivalent of a 160-point boost on the SAT and disproportionately benefits white and wealthy students.

In a study of the 30 top colleges in the United States, legacy students had about 45% greater chance of being admitted and at schools like Notre Dame can comprise up to a quarter of a university’s class. More white students have been admitted to top 10 universities with an alumni preference bonus than the total number of Black and Latinx students admitted with race-based affirmative action policies.

“When it comes to college admissions, the real scandals are the legal practices, like legacy admissions, that perpetuate inequity and undermine diversity,” said Education Reform Now Vice President of Strategic Initiatives and Higher Education Policy. “Many colleges maintain legacy admissions policies because they believe there is a financial benefit. If colleges are going to sell their moral standing, we aim to make clear there’s a financial cost to that, as well.”

Recent polling conducted by Education Reform Now found that 67% of voters support prohibiting the legacy preference at both private and public colleges and universities.

As part of the campaign, university alumni and current students can use a pre-populated form to email their college’s President and Board of Trustees pledging to withhold donations until the legacy preference is eliminated. The selection list is currently comprised of 35 of the nation’s top public and private institutions.

“Legacy admissions privileges those students who already have privilege,” said EdMobilizer Co-Founder and Executive Director Viet Andy Nguyen. “Even students and alumni that stand to benefit from the legacy preference know it is wrong and we’re willing to fight to ensure every qualified student has a fair chance in the admissions process.”

Learn more about legacy admissions and Leave Your Legacy here.

About Education Reform Now

Education Reform Now (ERN) is a non-partisan, nonprofit think tank and advocacy organization that promotes increased resources and innovative reforms in K-16 public education, particularly for students of color and students from low-income families. We seek forward progress in public education—at the federal, state, and local level—developing and advocating for new, bold ideas and mutually reinforcing policies in elementary, secondary and post-secondary education.

About Ed Mobilizer

EdMobilizer is an advocacy organization of first-generation and low-income college students and alumni that collectively mobilize for policy reforms in higher education.