Report: 43 Percent of White Students Admitted to Harvard Are Legacies, Athletes or Kids of Donors and Faculty

The study also revealed the school is more likely to admit legacies and athletes than it was years ago.

Harvard University's main campus (Darren McCollester/Newsmakers)
Harvard University's main campus (Darren McCollester/Newsmakers)

It shouldn’t exactly be a surprise to anyone with a basic understanding of the way money talks when it comes to higher education, but a new report called “Legacy and Athlete Preferences at Harvard” has revealed that between 2009 and 2014, 43 percent of Caucasian students accepted at the Ivy League school were either legacies, athletes or the children of donors and faculty.

That finding provides a glimpse at how rich white kids are given a leg up. According to the Harvard Crimson’s annual survey, 43.2 percent of legacies and 20 percent of athletes in the university’s class of 2019 come from households that earn more than $500,000 a year.

The study also found that white students were far more likely than any other racial demographic to be legacies. Legacy students made up 27 percent of the white student body, compared to 5.8 percent of African-American students, 9.5 percent of Hispanic students and 11 percent of Asian students.

The majority of the school’s athletes are also white. According to the report, 69 percent of athletes admitted to the university are Caucasian. The admission rate for athletes at Harvard between 2009 and 2014 was 87 percent, and it was 34 percent for legacies. For normal applicants, the admission rate was just 4.89 percent.

If you think these stats are any better than they were years ago, think again. “Over the course of the 18 years, legacies and athletes moved from being four times more likely to be admitted as their non-legacy, non-athlete counterparts to nine times more likely to be admitted,” the researchers noted in their paper.

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