Amherst College said Wednesday it would end its “legacy admissions” policy and stop giving heightened consideration to children of alumni as college admissions get increasingly more diverse and competitive. The change coincides with a $4 million increase in financial aid, bringing the private Massachusetts liberal arts college’s aid total to $71 million out of its almost $3.8 billion endowment. “We want to create as much opportunity for as many academically talented young people as possible, regardless of financial background or legacy status,” Biddy Martin, the college’s president, said in a statement.
Other large schools like the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Johns Hopkins University have made similar shifts prompted by a desire to favor those with academically and ethnically diverse backgrounds over well-pocketed alumni-turned-donors. “We are doing what we’re doing because we can, and because we should,” Martin said. The college has 1,850 students, 48 percent of whom identify as students of color, according to its website.