RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A bipartisan group of Virginia lawmakers is calling on colleges and universities to end legacy admissions — the practice of giving preferential treatment to applicants whose family members previously attended the school.
“Nobody should miss out on a slot at a university just because the person they are competing with, father or grandfather, went to that same university,” Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares (R) said.
This comes after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June that higher education institutions couldn’t take an applicant’s race into account when evaluating their application.
Miyares said that decision should cause schools to reevaluate their admissions process.
“They should be looked at as an individual,” Miyares said. “The totality of their entire human experience. Also, what they, themselves have achieved.”
Democratic House Minority Leader Don Scott is in favor of ending legacy admissions but said more needs to be done to ensure all Virginians have access to higher education.
“Just because you end legacy admissions doesn’t make up for the harm that was caused for hundreds of years where African Americans and people of color were excluded from these prestigious universities, although our tax dollars and, many times, our labor was being used for free to build those schools,” Scott said.
Recently, Virginia Tech announced it’s ending legacy admissions and the University of Virginia announced it’s altering its policy. Virginia Commonwealth University said it doesn’t use legacy as a factor during admissions decisions.
On the federal level, a bill has been introduced in Congress to prevent schools that participate in federal student-aid programs from giving preferential treatment to applicants based on their relationships with alumni. An identical bill was introduced in the Senate last year but failed to get out of committee.