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Hopkins says scrapping ‘legacy’ preference has boosted campus diversity

The Washington Post

January 14, 2020

 

Several years ago, Johns Hopkins University quietly abolished an admissions policy that boosted applicants who are relatives of alumni — a shift that sets the Baltimore school apart from many other highly selective colleges and universities that offer what is known as a “legacy” preference.

Now, Hopkins officials are proclaiming their stance publicly after seeing evidence that ditching the legacy preference helped the university build a more diverse student body without sacrificing academic quality. Not long ago, freshmen at the university with legacy connections outnumbered those who had enough financial need to qualify for federal Pell Grants. The opposite is true for the Class of 2023.

Hopkins President Ronald J. Daniels said in an interview Monday the legacy preference is “a very peculiar institution” in higher education. To reward applicants for the accident of a familial connection, he said, is “deeply perplexing given the country’s deep commitments to merit and equal opportunity.”

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