Study: 43 Percent of White Harvard Students Are Related to Alumni, Donors

Harvard University
Elise Amendola/Harvard

A new study suggests that 43 percent of white Harvard students are either athletes, legacy students, relatives of major donors, or children of faculty and staff.

The acronym ALDC is used to describe students that have a slightly easier path to admission at Harvard University. ALDC’s include athletes, legacy students (children of Harvard alumni), dean’s interest list students (often the relatives of wealthy donors), and children of faculty and staff.

According to an NBC News report, nearly half of all white students at Harvard University are categorized as ALDC. The data, which was calculated in a study by the National Bureau of Economic Research, revealed that non-white ALDC students, at just 16 percent, make up a much smaller portion of Harvard’s student body.

The study claims that the share of white students would drastically drop if admissions preferences for ADLC students were removed.

The lawsuit Students For Fair Admissions v. Harvard University provided an unprecedented look at how an elite school makes admissions decisions. Using publicly released reports, we examine the preferences Harvard gives for recruited athletes, legacies, those on the dean’s interest list, and children of faculty and staff (ALDCs). Among white admits, over 43% are ALDC. Among admits who are African American, Asian American, and Hispanic, the share is less than 16% each. Our model of admissions shows that roughly three quarters of white ALDC admits would have been rejected if they had been treated as white non-ALDCs. Removing preferences for athletes and legacies would significantly alter the racial distribution of admitted students, with the share of white admits falling and all other groups rising or remaining unchanged.

Breitbart News has reported extensively on the Asian-American admissions discrimination case against Harvard University. An activist group called the Students for Fair Admissions sued Harvard University last year, claiming that the Ivy League institution discriminates against Asian-American students during the admissions process. The parties in the case are still waiting for a verdict.

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