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Faculty at Stanford Thinks the School is Admitting Too Many Wealthy Students

Faculty at Stanford Thinks the School is Admitting Too Many Wealthy Students

“the Faculty Senate recently adopted two proposals designed to de-emphasize wealth in admissions”

They may have a point. Didn’t Chelsea Clinton attend Stanford?

Inside Higher Ed reports:

Is Stanford Letting In Too Many Wealthy Students?

When The New York Times (courtesy of Raj Chetty at Harvard University) a few years ago decided to examine the issue of wealth and higher education, the figures for Stanford University were striking:

More than half of Stanford undergraduates came from a family in the top 10 percent of wealth in the United States.

– Thirty-nine percent came from the top 5 percent.

– Seventeen percent came from the top 1 percent.

– And 3.5 percent came from the top 0.1 percent.

And how many are from the bottom 20 percent? Only 4 percent. (Stanford is quite diverse by looking at racial and ethnic groups, with white students making up 32 percent of the population, Asians 23 percent, Latinx 17 percent, Black 7 percent and Native Americans 1 percent.)

As the above numbers indicate, Stanford has a very wealthy student body. And so do most of the other hypercompetitive (in admissions) private colleges.

Faculty at the university have been studying the issue, and the Faculty Senate recently adopted two proposals designed to de-emphasize wealth in admissions.

The first proposal is designed to reduce the influence of wealth in undergraduate admission and to increase the socioeconomic diversity of the undergraduate class. It urges university leaders “to devote resources to improving data collection by modifying Stanford’s application to require applicants to list those who advised or read their application, and to describe their relationship with those people.” The Faculty Senate also wants to establish “an improved data system to evaluate the effect of admissions on philanthropic support to the university and to initiate surveys to track the distribution of income and wealth levels for parents and undergraduates.”

In addition, the Faculty Senate called for “improved communication that will enhance Stanford’s efforts to publicly describe and demystify the admission process and to reduce disparities among those who can or cannot afford, for instance, private counseling.”


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The Friendly Grizzly | February 17, 2021 at 12:07 pm

If Stanford trimmed away a lot of administrative fat, and ditched Styrofoam majors, they could lower tuition. Or, am I being unrealistic.

Mike LaChance: did YOU use the word “Latinx”, or is that from part of the quote? If it’s you: tsk tsk tsk.

This sounds like a great idea, but I predict it will go nowhere.

At $54K for tuition, Stanford needs to have mostly students from wealthy families. Students from less wealthy backgrounds will need discounted tuition. If the average discount rate is too great, the university will show a deficit.

Stanford is unlikely to cut their administrative bloat or their expensive athletics programs or their grievance studies majors or their race-based “diversity” programs. So I doubt that they can realistically turn away more wealthy students and stay profitable. In effect, the wealthy students paying the full fare make possible the discounts for the less wealthy students.

    healthguyfsu in reply to OldProf2. | February 17, 2021 at 3:05 pm

    Not to mention that the wealthy families tend to give to the university in other ways.

    henrybowman in reply to OldProf2. | February 17, 2021 at 5:21 pm

    “If the average discount rate is too great, the university will show a deficit.”

    It’s not like the California taxpayers won’t be absolutely delighted to make up the difference.

    DeanSemler in reply to OldProf2. | February 20, 2021 at 7:03 pm

    People seem to know very little about how Stanford actually functions but have no problem espousing ideas here. Only about 5% of Stanford’s revenues come from tuition. And about 3/4 of the students attending receive at least 1/3 financial aid; about 1/4 of them receive 100% financial aid. About 40% of Stanford’s revenues come from Defense Department funded research. Stanford could cut tuition to zero and barely feel it. So all of this advice is vastly misdirected.

I did the math and it only accounts for 80%. Are the other 20% different species or space aliens?

My dad taught me not to $h!t where I eat. I guess the committee which decided this is a problem never learned that lesson, unless of course, they are administrators whose jobs will be protected till the end (which, I am guessing, is the real problem here).

Antifundamentalist | February 18, 2021 at 7:52 pm

Okay. That’s easy. Lower tuition and reduce faculty to compensate for the resulting budget deficit.
Action = Consequence.

Wealthy students making Stanford faculty wealthy. FIFY.