What If Elite Colleges Switched To A Lottery For Admissions?

NPR; April 3, 2019

For the sec­ond time in as many years, the nation is in the midst of a fren­zy over who gets to sleep in the extra-long twin beds at a tiny frac­tion of high­ly selec­tive col­leges and uni­ver­si­ties. Last year, it was a law­suit over Harvard University’s admis­sions process, par­tic­u­lar­ly its treat­ment of Asian-Americans. This year, it’s a scan­dal involv­ing rich par­ents and a crim­i­nal scheme to get their chil­dren into uni­ver­si­ties like Yale, Stanford and the University of Southern California. Fifty peo­ple have been charged in a scam that alleged­ly includes cheat­ing on the SAT and ACT and brib­ing unscrupu­lous coaches.

By high­light­ing flaws in the col­lege admis­sions process, these sto­ries illus­trate the deep inequities in access to the United States’ elite uni­ver­si­ties. And the debate is sur­fac­ing some out-of-the-box ideas about what an alter­na­tive might look like. For exam­ple: What about a lottery?