Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Affirmative action for the rich

In an interview, Golden said that he became interested in the issue of preferences for the wealthy while he was covering the judicial battles over affirmative action at the University of Michigan. “Everyone was writing about the boosts [in the admissions process] for minority applicants,” he said, but he started to realize that there were also explicit boosts for the extremely wealthy and alumni children. He was struck, Golden said, by how little attention such preferences received.

“When people have talked about preferences that aren’t based on merit, you have this lineup where the colleges and liberal groups are defending affirmative action and conservatives are attacking it and they are overlooking the elephant in the room,” he said. “Both sides have a vested interest in overlooking preferences for the wealthy,” he said, because colleges “need the money” they get from favoring the wealthy and conservatives “want their kids to get in.”

From this Inside HigherEd story by Scott Jaschik about Daniel Golden's new book The Price of Admission: How America’s Ruling Class Buys Its Way Into Elite Colleges — and Who Gets Left Outside the Gates.