News flash: Alumni give to colleges and universities to get their kids admitted


April is the time of year when applicants to colleges and universities in the United States typically find out whether they have been admitted or not.

Researchers have determined that alumni give money to colleges and universities in order to increase the likelihood that the school will admit their children.

Comments (11)
  1. jennings says:

    I’d be interested to see the results for a number of institutions. I’ve heard Stanford has low alumni giving. It would be interesting to see if the pattern was the same there. I’d suspect that institutions with higher levels of alumni participation more strongly exhibited the trend seen the the study.

  2. George Jansen says:

    Many years ago the NY Times quoted some disgrunted Angeleno parent as saying that when the Norman Lears had put a new wing on the preschool you knew that was one slot in the pre-K class right there. And come to think of it, that guy’s kids are probably about 18 now. I wonder what the aging of the echo boom will do to all this.

  3. Sohail says:

    So they are teaching their kids to buy their way out of mediocrity. I guess it can work.

  4. Frymaster says:

    huh.  I can’t see my university (Napier) taking the extra time to cross-reference applications against donations, especially since acceptance criteria are determined by the individual schools (more specifically, in relation to the number of people who apply for a course versus their average marks), whereas donations are almost certainly handled centrally.  I suspect for people going straight from school, the vast majority are "rubber-stamped" (ie given an unconditional acceptance, one conditional on their last set of exams, or a refusal) based on their exam results, and only in a very few cases does any large amount of judgement come into play.  (Me and my brother are both mature students.  My academic results were quite good, so I got accepted, though I’d dropped out of uni before so I suspect decision-making was involved.  My brother’s weren’t so good, but were about 10 years out of date, so he was interviewed before he was accepted.)

  5. Jim says:

    I do not mind of Uni taking money and doing favor for the donors. But I do mind of Uni double dipping. They are taking hugh amount money from private (38 billion for Harvard last year) and increasing student’s tuition fee (20% per year). They run the education institution like a business, which is really stink.

  6. I don’t know about you but If money cant buy things for your children, then why the hell are some of us working so hard?

    Why not reward the parents by rewarding their children with admission. Personally I see this as win-win. Win: Parents get rewarded because they have worked hard all their lives to be able to afford to donate, Kids win: b/c they develop the same work ethic in college.

    Sure it doesn’t always work out like this but suck it up and deal with it. If theres no benefits associated with being rich then we would all be as lazy as the victims of the Katrina Hurricane.

  7. Jennings says:

    There are two different things at work here. The alumni council is interested in the percentage of each class that is made up of legacies. Legacies are admitted out of a seperate pool and you’re still going to have very highly qualified applicants from this pool even though they might accept a higher percentage than the general population. The second issue is if a Rockafeller donates a hundred million dollars, that guy’s kid is getting in even if he’s dumb as a post. I don’t think there are enough of the second group to really get worked up about.

  8. julie:) says:

    having worked in fundraising for a couple of universities, i have one vague story: i did hear 1 development officer say that they were going to email admissions for a "review" of a donor’s grandkid’s application.  i don’t know if the kid got in and for the most part, i don’t really care.  in my somewhat cynical mood, i’m not sure this situation is any different from people donating money just to insure good football/basketball season seats (and people donate *tons* of money just to athletics, whether or not they even went to the school).

  9. jeff says:

    Frymaster: What you said may be true in the UK, but the article is about American universities. At most American universities, a great deal of subjective judgment factors into the admission process.

  10. Igor Levicki says:

    @Off Topic Forum:

    "Why not reward the parents by rewarding their children with admission."

    Because parents are already rewarded for their hard work with MONEY.

    Children’s hard work in elementary and high-school should be rewarded by admission.

  11. Cody says:

    I’d be interested in seeing correlations between how much money was donated by your family and how well you do in school for various metrics, such as GPA.

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