Notre Dame and Baylor Admit More Legacies Than Harvard and Yale

(Bloomberg) -- The University of Notre Dame leads top U.S. schools in admitting the most children of alumni -- 22 percent by latest count.

That’s among universities with the 25 biggest endowments as tracked by Bloomberg. Among those outside the top 25, Baylor University in Waco, Texas, led the league in legacies with 32 percent.

Notre Dame and Baylor Admit More Legacies Than Harvard and Yale

Schools slice the data differently. Most call students with alumni family members “legacies.’’ Yale University refers to “legacy affiliation.’’ It said 11 percent of its Class of 2022 falls into that category. Fourteen percent of Princeton University’s student body are children of alums. The University of Southern California calls them “scions’’ -- applicants with a parent, grandparent or sibling who graduated from USC. They represent 16 percent of the USC student body.

Harvard University says 14 percent in its Class of 2022 are children of alumni. By another count -- any family ties -- 29.3 percent of Crimson students qualify.

In the wake of the college admissions scandal, in which wealthy parents allegedly bribed prestigious universities to accept their undeserving children, the number of students getting preferential treatment is a question worth asking. Disclosure on legacies is spotty, however, and comparisons can be difficult.

Notre Dame and Baylor Admit More Legacies Than Harvard and Yale

Of the schools with the 25 biggest endowments, fewer than half have publicly available data on the proportion of legacy students. Fewer still give a clear accounting of how legacy status is factored into admissions decisions beyond saying it’s a “positive supplement” or one component in a holistic review.

How much does it help students’ chances for admission to be a legacy? The Cavalier Daily reported that “nearly 47 percent of legacy applicants” to the University of Virginia received an offer of admission for the class of 2022, compared with 25 percent of non-legacy students.

Harvard’s admission rate for legacy applicants was found to be “over five times that of non-legacy students,” according to a report from the Harvard Crimson, which cited an admissions lawsuit filed against the university.

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