Youngkin signs bills targeting legacy admissions at Virginia public colleges

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) signed two bills aimed at at legacy admissions at public colleges in the state Friday.

“No public institution of higher education shall provide any manner of preferential treatment in the admissions decision to any student applicant on the basis of such student’s legacy status or such student’s familial relationship to any donor to such institution,” the identical bills’ text reads.

The bills’ signing by the governor comes amid a nationwide discussion about legacy admissions, which allows family members of alumni and donors to get a boost in their chances in the admissions process for colleges and universities. Over 100 colleges and universities have stopped legacy preferences since 2015, according to a report from the nonprofit Education Reform Now.

Some of the schools that have ended the practice include Wesleyan University, Occidental College and the University of Minnesota.

Discourse around legacy admissions have heated up in the wake of a Supreme Court ruling last year that struck down affirmative action and prevented schools from taking into account race in admissions. Colorado was the first state to ban legacy preferences back in 2021.

On the same day of the Supreme Court ruling, President Biden took a swing at legacy admissions and directed the Education Department to study “practices like legacy admissions and other systems that expand privilege instead of opportunity.”

“Virginia showed we could work in a bipartisan way to end the practice of legacy preferences,”  state Sen. Schuyler VanValkenburg (D), who introduced the Senate bill, said in a post on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter Friday.

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