The Harvard Legacy Project is a group of students, faculty, alumni, and community members who are dedicated to aligning Harvard’s admissions practices with its institutional values. We believe that bright young people – regardless of socioeconomic origin – should have fair and equal access to the amazing opportunities Harvard offers, and we want this to be our legacy. We support ending the use of legacy preferences in the admissions process as a step towards ensuring that Harvard’s holistic process fairly accounts for socioeconomic disadvantage.

Despite Harvard’s world leading financial aid initiative, just 30% of Harvard students come from the bottom 70% of American households by income. We believe that we can do better. While Harvard alone cannot fix some of the fundamental inequalities of our educational system, we are calling upon Harvard to lead the nation in giving our most disadvantaged students the opportunity of a Harvard education. While we have many goals, we want Harvard to follow MIT’s lead by abolishing “legacy preferences” for the children of alumni in admissions, which unfairly give an extra boost to the children of wealthy families in the admissions process – the group that already has significant advantages in getting into college. Learn more about our goals, and why they matter, here.


To keep in touch, sign up for our mailing list for updates on the campaign (we won’t spam!).

  • We are proud to announce that all 4 candidates for Harvard Student Body President have endorsed ending legacy preference in the admissions process.  You can read our press release here. (11/17/2014)
  • Check out our updated FAQ, with new answers to common questions we’ve been hearing! (10/17/2014)
  • Read our latest op-ed in the Crimson: “What should Harvard’s Legacy Be?”  (9/23/2014)
  • There are a variety of ways to get involved in our movement, whether you are a current undergraduate, an alumnus, or a faculty member. Get involved today.

“Selective college admissions is a zero sum game: every applicant admitted takes a space which could have gone to another student. Preferring a student whose parents attended a college not only takes away a spot from an equal or better student, it specifically takes away a spot from an equal or better student who overcame more by not having the advantages accrued by prior generations.”

– Chris Peterson of the MIT Admissions Office, “Just To Be Clear: We Don’t Do Legacy” 

Socioeconomic Graph


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