Monday, November 17, 2003

The death of minority outreach programs (and legacies?) 

That's what this Washington Post article suggests as a result of the Michigan decisions. Because students of color with high SAT scores are harder to find, universities have traditionally bought lists from the College Board. Now Amherst and Mount Holyoke are having to open up their outreach programs to "low-income whites." Defenders of these programs argue, of course, that legacy programs -- reserving some slots for children of alumni -- are making the playing field tilt away from minority students. But legacy programs keep the mother's milk of alumni dollars flowing. Interested readers are directed to this NBER working paper for at least an abstract; the paper, if you can get it (Google didn't turn up a copy that wasn't for pay on the NBER site) has much more on legacy admissions through history. One threat they see: The large increases in class sizes during the baby boom era will increase the demand for legacy slots in the future. More will be rejected. (First link is to Univ. of Houston's Top Education News website, which is one of my treasure troves for stories. Thanks!)