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Published: July 12, 2011


In education, a tradition of attending a particular school or college, handed down from parent to child. Many colleges and universities automatically give legatees preference over nonlegatees in the admissions process. At such schools, applicants with legacy are evaluated separately, and chances of admission are far greater than those of non-legatees. In the most selective private colleges, legatee chances of admission may be as high as one in two, compared with one in 12 for nonlegatees. In schools where legacy is a factor in admissions, legatees are usually admitted over non-legatees with equal qualifications. The basis for legacy is to encourage a sense of family tradition that may generate liberal financial contributions and other expressions of institutional loyalty to schools.