Amherst College drops admissions edge for children of alumni

Hampshire County

AMHERST, Mass. (AP) — Amherst College will no longer give admissions preference to the children of alumni, the school announced Wednesday, ending a practice that has been criticized for giving an additional advantage to students from wealthier families.

The liberal arts college said it’s dropping legacy admissions to create a fairer admissions system and to promote diversity on campus. In the past, children of alumni have made up 11% of incoming students at the college of 1,700 students. Going forward, family status will not be considered in admission decisions.

Amherst President Biddy Martin said the shift will make the school accessible to more students, regardless of their financial background or family connections.

“Now is the time to end this historic program that inadvertently limits educational opportunity by granting a preference to those whose parents are graduates of the college,” Martin said in a statement.

At selective colleges across the nation, it’s common for children of alumni to be given an edge in the application process. Colleges defend the practice by saying it it encourages alumni to donate and is only used as a tiebreaker in close decisions.

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