How college admissions are rigged for the wealthy

From my latest for Al Jazeera:

“Diversity” is a cherished value of American schools – so long as that diversity does not include students whose families earn less than the tuition fee. Elite universities favour those willing to pay to play – and play again until they win.

Only 3.8 percent of American families make more than $200,000 per year. But at Harvard University, 45.6 percent of incoming freshman come from families making $200,000 or more. A mere 4 percent of Harvard students come from a family in the bottom quintile of US incomes, and only 17.8 percent come from the bottom three quintiles.

“We admit students without any regard for financial need – a policy we call ‘need-blind admission’,”Harvard’s website proudly proclaims. Harvard charges $54,496 per year for tuition, room and board, but waives the fees for families making less than $60,000 per year.

This would be a laudable policy were Harvard admitting low-income students in any significant numbers, but they are not. Instead, they fill their ranks with the children of the elite portrayed in Miller’s article – elites who drop hundreds of thousands of dollars on private schools, exorbitant “enrichment” activities, and personal tutors that almost no Americans can afford.

Harvard’s admission is “need-blind” only in that it turns a blind eye to actual need. Like many universities, it increases its number of aid recipients by inflating its price tag. With tuition higher than the median US household income, students from families making $200,000 are now deemed poor enough to qualify for financial aid.

Read The immorality of college admissions at Al Jazeera English.

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14 Responses to How college admissions are rigged for the wealthy

  1. Here I must disagree from my own experience. We are not wealthy. My son was accepted first to a UC school, then Hopkins (Masters) and Yale (PhD). Right now he teaches at Yale and I know he has a cross-section of students from all financial backgrounds. If he had to rely on our bank account, he would not now be a professor. He was and is brilliant and hardworking, and earns every accolade on his own merits, which makes me even more proud of him, if possible! I’m not saying that some decisions aren’t based on wealth or connections, but my son is proof that it’s not 100% of the time.

  2. DS says:

    @enchanted seashells. Ma’am, get over yourself. Kendzior provided percentages, 46% which automatically makes your weak protest pointless since Kendzior took it into account. Privilege, privilege, privilege. Whine. Whine. Whine. Where are your reading comp. skills? Stop looking in the mirror and think structurally. Good grief.

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