New Bill Proposes Ending Legacy Preference in College Admissions

Congress is considering a new bill called the Fair College Admissions for Students Act. This legislation aims to end preference for students based on legacy or donor status.


Senator Jeff Merkley, who helped introduce the bill, says they hope to make the college admissions process more equitable, especially for first-generation and minority students.

What are opponents of the bill saying?

Legacy preferences are common among the majority of highly-selective colleges. Supporters of legacy and donor preferences argue that this helps bring in necessary funds that help provide financial assistance to low-income students.

When might this go into effect?

Hard to say yet. The bill was introduced in the House on February 2, 2022. It currently has eight cosponsors in the House, all Democrats, and is awaiting a vote before moving on to a vote in the Senate. 

Which colleges will this affect?

The bill is particularly aimed at U.S. colleges and universities that participate in federal student aid programs. Institutions that already admit significant numbers of underrepresented students, like HBCUs, tribal colleges, and minority-serving institutions could be exempt.

Our forecast

This bill may make applying to highly-selective schools more equitable. Whether or not you’re a legacy applicant, this change in the admissions landscape should push you to consider schools outside of your comfort zone that you might not have considered applying to otherwise. 

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