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Home / US / At Harvard, children of wealthy families are vastly outnumber the poor. Is that a problem?

At Harvard, children of wealthy families are vastly outnumber the poor. Is that a problem?







On Harvard University's campus, the wealthy are well represented, with rich students outnumbering low-income ones, 23 to 1.

But what is the most important economic event? Harvard's admissions practices.

Harvard's adoption of affirmative action in admissions discriminates against Asian-American applicants.

But often it can seem as if Harvard's vast wealth and privilege are also on trial. [1

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"Let's leave it at Harvard is rich," said US District Judge Allison Burroughs on Monday, earning a laugh from the gallery during A discussion about the university's $ 39 billion endowment, which rivals the great domestic product of many nations.


Harvard was able to adopt racial and economic diversity when he was asked to do so. Richard Kahlenberg, academic thinker at the Century Foundation think tank.

Kahlenberg, a longtime advocate of affirmative action based on socioeconomic factors instead of race, Harvard could have done much more to increase its representation of low-income students on campus.

When it comes to race, Harvard "is doing a very good job getting diversity, "Kahlenberg said. "Harvard's socioeconomic diversity is deeply lacking."

Harvard professor Raj Chetty said that just 3 percent of Harvard students graduated from the bottom fifth of the ladder ladder, while 70 percent came from families of the top fifth in income earners in the country.

Harvard had 23 times as many high-income students as low-income students, according to Kahlenberg.

He argued that Harvard should adopt race-neutral admissions standards and give significant pay to low-income students ,

Harvard, those applicants for donors and staff members, and their early admittance program, which tend to benefit students who attend well-resourced high schools

The result, Kahlenberg said, would be that the share of disadvantaged students, as defined by their family income is $ 80,000 or less, would increase at Harvard to 54 percent from 17 percent. Harvard would maintain its strong academic standards, he said.

This option would keep the percentage of white students, while the numbers of Asian-American and Hispanic students are on campus. Kahlenberg's model.

'The socioeconomic diversity at Harvard is deeply painted.'

Harvard officials questioned that trade-off.

"The racial group that bore the burden of your race-neutral alternative. , , Harvard is an African-American student, said William Lee, a lawyer representing.

Harvard has argued that Harvard's educational goals of attracting top-level and diverse students include race-neutral alternatives.

About a month ago, Harvard did away with his early-action program – a nonbinding option in which to apply for students in November and are offered admissions in mid-December. But few others follow suit.

And Harvard was losing high-academic performers, including well-prepared black and Latino applicants, to other colleges, university officials said.

Harvard officials on Monday defended the university's record of attracting students of low and modest means.

The university does offer a tip, or advantage, to students of modest means, including Asian-American applicants, Lee said. And, he said, Harvard does not require families to make any money, but to spend more than $ 65,000 annually.

However, Harvard's own data show that the advantage for low-income students is dwarfed

Throughout the trial, which began last week, Harvard has made his defensive choices for the relatives of alumni and donors, arguing that they have created a vibrant community and that the university has

The movement has also become popular among the public.

] Several states, including California, Michigan, and Washington, have adopted outright bans on race-conscious admissions in public higher education.

In California, which has barred race-conscious admissions since 1996, the results have been mixed.

The most competitive schools in the public system, The University of California Berkeley and the University of California, Los Angeles, have experienced the most profound drops in black and Latino students and have not returned to their pre-ban levels.

Less-selective colleges in the system have returned to pre-ban

The gap between the students who graduate from California's public high schools and those who Kahlberg questionnaire on Harv.

Still, Kahlenberg questioned on Monday ard has fully explored race-neutral alternatives to admissions. Over the years, the Supreme Court has narrowed the use of race to college admissions.

Deirdre Fernandes can be reached at deirdre.fernandes@globe.com.

Deirdre Fernandes can be reached at deirdre.fernandes@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @fernandesglobe .


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