Governor Youngkin Enacts Legislation Prohibiting Legacy Admissions in Virginia”

Virginia’s Republican Governor Glenn Youngkin has recently signed into law a bill that effectively bars legacy admissions at public colleges across the state. This action puts Virginia in line with several other states advocating for the elimination of admissions practices that give preference to applicants based on their family connections to alumni, particularly following the Supreme Court’s June 2023 ruling against race-based admissions.

With unanimous bipartisan support, the bill swiftly passed through the Virginia Senate with a vote of 39-0 and the House of Delegates with a vote of 99-0 before receiving Governor Youngkin’s approval.

The legislation specifically states that “No public institution of higher education shall provide any form of preferential treatment in admissions decisions to any student applicant based on their legacy status or familial relationship to any donor to the institution.”

Virginia Democratic state Senator Schuyler VanValkenburg, the bill’s sponsor, emphasized its importance, stating, “It’s about fairness. It’s about ensuring that higher education is accessible to everyone.”

Shining a brighter light on the matter, the education committee of Connecticut’s legislature has revealed plans to scrutinize legacy admissions during the forthcoming legislative session. Furthermore, federal legislators, such as Indiana Republican Senator Todd Young and Virginia Democratic Senator Tim Kaine, put forth legislation in November with the goal of eliminating legacy admissions nationwide, indicating a burgeoning national conversation on this issue.

Virginia’s action, along with similar initiatives throughout the United States, comes at a juncture when nearly 56% of the top 250 colleges and universities incorporate legacy admissions into their enrollment procedures. This practice is now facing heightened scrutiny for its impact on educational and social equity.