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LSU cuts financial aid for legacy students

Louisiana State University at Baton Rouge eliminated a financial aid scholarship awarded specifically to students whose parents had attended the university. Though some of these students will still qualify for need-based and merit-based aid, the university estimates the savings to be in the millions of dollars.

While many higher education experts oppose preferential treatment for legacy students, Inside Higher Ed notes that LSU is one of the first universities to take such a step:

Every few years, a book or report focuses attention on the preferences colleges provide to alumni children, or to the offspring of potential donors, in admissions or financial aid. Daniel Golden’s The Price of Admission generated considerable buzz in 2006. Last year, a collection of essays — Affirmative Action for the Rich— addressed some similar themes. But despite periodic attention to the issue, most experts on admissions agree that colleges typically go right on offering these preferences. Richard D. Kahlenberg, editor of the volume that came out last year, said he couldn’t think of a college that had acted on the book’s arguments.

But this year, Louisiana State University at Baton Rouge has ended an extremely generous financial aid program for alumni children, saying that in tight budget times it is inappropriate to give alumni children an edge in earning scholarships that may be needed by others based on financial circumstances or earned based on academic merit.

LSU’s actions suggest that universities, in the face of skyrocketing tuition costs, may have a difficult time justifying scholarships that are based on ancestry, rather than merit or need.

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