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Wealth, Legacy and College Admission


The author traces the history of Harvard University and Yale University from their inception--1636 for Harvard and 1701 for Yale. Although the original mission of Harvard and Yale was to further religious purposes, they quickly became institutions for educating the children of wealthy parents to preserve their privilege, rank, and status in life. A dual system of education evolved in the post-colonial period: One for the children of common people and one for the children of privilege people. The common people attended the town schools and the children of the privileged people attended the Latin grammar school (which earmarked these students to enter college). This dual system of education has perpetuated into the twenty-second century. It is evidenced by college legacies and college donations to Harvard and Yale and to other Ivy League colleges. This college admission policy can be construed as an affirmative-action policy for rich white students, and in turn help the rich and powerful exploit their position and ensure class domination for the next generation.

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Ornstein, A. Wealth, Legacy and College Admission. Soc 56, 335–339 (2019).

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