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Monday, July 27, 2009
New Study Appears Likely to Complicate the Debate Over Legacy Admissions
Having a child approaching college age does appear to make alumni predisposed toward generosity toward their alma maters: The probability of alumni's making gifts increased by 12.9 percentage points if a child of theirs attended, and those gifts were about 48 percent larger than the ones given by alumni without family connections.
But other family ties also appeared to influence giving, in ways that could not easily be attributed to a desire to secure an applicant an advantage. Having a parent, aunt or uncle, or mother-in-law or father-in-law who graduated from the same institution all appeared to make alumni significantly more likely to donate, and those with a sibling who attended the same college, while no more likely than others to donate, tended on average donate more.
See the Chronicle of Higher Education Web site for a full summary of the study by Jonathan Meer, a Stanford University doctoral student who recently accepted a position as an assistant professor of economics at Texas A&M University at College Station, and Harvey S. Rosen, a professor of economics and business policy at Princeton University and co-director of Princeton's Center for Economic Policy Studies.