The Right Coast

Editor: Thomas A. Smith
University of San Diego
School of Law

A Member of the Law Professor Blogs Network

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

How U.S. News college rankings promote economic inequality on campus

America’s universities are getting two report cards this year. The first, from the Equality of Opportunity Project, brought the shocking revelation that many top universities, including Princeton and Yale, admit more students from the top 1 percent of earners than the bottom 60 percent combined. The second, from U.S. News and World Report, is due on Tuesday — with Princeton and Yale among the contenders for the top spot in the annual rankings.


What matters is -- Do colleges and universities give candidates a bump for coming from a family with more money? That's really the question. Of course, rich people tend to be more talented in the sense that their children score higher and get better grades. The question, for me at least, is whether as between two kids, with equal scores and grades, the one from the richer family gets admitted. The answer I believe is, you betcha. This is a cause of what you might call undeserved inequality.

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Forgive a naive foreigner familiar with a quite different system of university admission: how the devil does the university know how rich a candidate's family is?

Posted by: dearieme | Sep 13, 2017 10:40:46 AM