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Legacies Down; First Gens Up

Phil is making his mark in one interesting way: the number of legacies seems to be dropping at the same time as the number of first generation students is increasing.

Longtime readers will recall that beginning with the Class of 2014 (the fall of 2010), the Kim administration cynically manipulated the demographics of the incoming class in order to take in more tuition money: legacies, private school students and early decision acceptances jumped by 15-35% in just one year — these groups as a rule require far less financial aid than ordinary admits.

Since then, early decision acceptances have stayed high (they have actually increased) — our parlous yield requires that — but look at the legacy figures from 1991-2015. The number of legacies has dropped in the last two years from the inordinate peak of the four previous classes:

Factbook Legacy.jpg

(BTW, all hail the Office of Institutional Research’s new interactive Factbook, which contains ever more historical data and even has a graphing feature.)

Now don’t get me wrong here. I have nothing against legacies: two of my best College friends’ fathers went to Dartmouth; both of my classmates deserved to be in Hanover. Like race and other telling personal characteristics, legacy status should be a tiebreaker in the admissions process, but nothing more than that.

As for first-generation-to-college students, the Factbook does not include stats for them, but the administration does announce the number of admitted students each year:

First Gen Admits.jpg
There’s the drop for the Class of 2014 (fall of 2010) again. Way to go, Jim Kim. You set a new standard for two-facedness. But Phil seems to be turning things around. Good for him.

Addendum: As we noted in a past post, an inordinate number of Kim’s new legacy slots went to the the children of major donors. I have no information as to whether Kim’s special solicitousness to donors is now being rolled back. Recall also that under Jim Kim, the College’s spending increased each year.

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