NPR

What If Elite Colleges Switched To A Lottery For Admissions?

What if we just pulled names out of a hat to find out who gets into America's top colleges? K-12 lottery systems might give us an idea about what would happen.
Source: Peter Judson for NPR

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?

Rick Hess,in a piece on March 15:

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