Economic Inequality and College Admissions Policies
David Orentlicher and
No dhp5f, LawArXiv from Center for Open Science
Cornell Journal of Law and Public Policy: Vol. 26 : Iss. 1 , Article 3 As economic inequality in the United States has reached unprecedented heights, reformers have focused considerable attention on changes in the law that would provide for greater equality in wealth among Americans. No doubt, much benefit would result from more equitable tax policies, fairer workplace regulation, and more generous spending policies. But there may be even more to gain by revising college admissions policies. Admissions policies at the Ivy League and other elite American colleges do much to exacerbate the problem of economic inequality. Accordingly, reforming those policies may represent the most effective strategy for restoring a reasonable degree of economic equality in the United States. Fortunately, there is an important alternative to traditional admissions policies for elite universities to consider—“top class rank” policies. Indeed, some public universities have already adopted top class rank policies in lieu of affirmative action to promote student body diversity. While the impact on student diversity is a key feature of top rank policies, this Article focuses on another critical benefit of the policies— their ability to turn elite universities from institutions that exacerbate economic inequality into institutions that foster economic equality.
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