S T A T E O F N E W Y O R K
2023-2024 Regular Sessions
I N A S S E M B L Y
January 17, 2023
Introduced by M. of A. WALKER, RIVERA -- Multi-Sponsored by -- M. of A.
SIMON, TAYLOR -- read once and referred to the Committee on Higher
AN ACT to amend the education law, in relation to prohibiting legacy
preference and early decision admission policies at higher education
institutions in this state
THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM-
BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:
Section 1. Short title. This act may be known and shall be cited as
the "fair college admissions act".
§ 2. Legislative intent. a. The legislature hereby finds that there
are significant income gains associated with postsecondary education
degree attainment, with New York state residents with a bachelor's
degree three times less likely to live in poverty than those with a high
b. The legislature further finds that students who attend and graduate
from a highly selective higher education institution in the state of New
York are much more likely to earn salaries in the top income quintile
than those who graduate from less selective institutions, furthering
economic and social inequality.
c. The legislature further finds that within most highly selective
higher education institutions in New York state, degree completion rates
for students from low-income and working class family backgrounds are
comparable to students from upper-income family backgrounds.
d. The legislature further finds that many four-year higher education
institutions in New York state consider whether a prospective student is
related to alumni as part of the admissions process.
e. The legislature further finds that providing preferential treatment
to students related to alumni of a higher education institution is
discriminatory in nature and disproportionately hurts students who come
from working class and low-income families, have parents who did not
EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
[ ] is old law to be omitted.
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earn a bachelor's degree, are undocumented, are immigrants, and are
members of historically underrepresented minority groups formerly denied
entry into specific higher education institutions either as a matter of
institution policy or the effect of historic underlying law and govern-
f. The legislature further finds that 30 percent of bachelor degree
granting institutions in the state of New York currently employ an early
decision admissions policy that allows students to apply in the fall of
their senior year and receive an application decision by December in
exchange for committing to attend that institution and foregoing an
opportunity to compare financial aid packages offered by competing
institutions of higher education.
g. The legislature further finds that at a number of higher education
institutions, particularly highly selective institutions with low admit
rates, between 40 and 50 percent of enrolled students are admitted early
decision, and early decision applicants are more than twice as likely to
h. The legislature further finds that early decision admission poli-
cies are discriminatory in nature, as they favor students with strong
college advising and the ability to commit to a college or university
without considering a financial aid package. They put first-generation
students, students at under-resourced high schools, and students from
working class and low-income backgrounds at a disadvantage because they
lack awareness of the strategic benefit of applying early decision and
do not have the luxury of committing to an institution without knowing
the post-financial aid cost of attendance.
i. The legislature further finds that inequitable, unfair admissions
policies and practices such as legacy preference and early decision are
a significant factor behind disparities in college enrollment among
students from historically underserved racial and economic subgroups
compared to their more advantaged peers at selective higher education
j. The legislature hereby declares that a prohibition on legacy pref-
erence and early decision admissions policies at degree-granting
colleges and universities in the state shall further the goals of educa-
tional, economic, and social equity, helping to diversify highly selec-
tive institutions while closing achievement gaps between historically
advantaged and disadvantaged groups, and shall commit to achieving the
same with the following provisions of this act.
§ 3. The education law is amended by adding a new section 239-c to
read as follows:
§ 239-C. PROHIBITION ON LEGACY PREFERENCE AND EARLY DECISION ADMISSION
POLICIES. 1. DEFINITIONS. AS USED IN THIS SECTION, THE FOLLOWING TERMS
SHALL HAVE THE FOLLOWING MEANINGS:
(A) "CONSIDER ALUMNI/AE RELATION AS A FACTOR IN ADMISSIONS" SHALL
REFER TO WHEN AN ADMISSIONS APPLICATION ASKS APPLICANTS TO INDICATE
WHERE THEIR RELATIVES ATTENDED COLLEGE AND THAT SUCH INFORMATION IS
INCLUDED AMONG THE DOCUMENTS THAT THE HIGHER EDUCATION INSTITUTION USES
TO CONSIDER AN APPLICANT FOR ADMISSION.
(B) "EARLY ACTION" SHALL MEAN AN ADMISSIONS PLAN THAT ALLOWS A STUDENT
TO APPLY AT AN EARLIER STAGE OF THE ADMISSIONS PROCESS AND RECEIVE AN
EXPEDITED ADMISSIONS DECISION BUT DOES NOT REQUIRE SUCH STUDENT TO
COMMIT TO ATTEND SUCH INSTITUTION UPON RECEIVING A DECISION OF ADMIT-
(C) "EARLY DECISION" SHALL MEAN AN ADMISSIONS PLAN THAT ALLOWS A
STUDENT TO APPLY AT AN EARLIER STAGE OF THE ADMISSIONS PROCESS AND
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RECEIVE AN EXPEDITED ADMISSIONS DECISION THAT REQUIRES SUCH STUDENT,
ABSENT UNIQUE CIRCUMSTANCES STIPULATED IN THE EARLY DECISION APPLICATION
OR OTHERWISE AGREED TO BY THE INSTITUTION, TO COMMIT TO ATTEND A HIGHER
EDUCATION INSTITUTION SHOULD SUCH STUDENT BE ADMITTED AND TO WITHDRAW
ALL OTHER APPLICATIONS TO OTHER HIGHER EDUCATION INSTITUTIONS.
(D) "HIGHER EDUCATION INSTITUTION" SHALL MEAN THE STATE UNIVERSITY OF
NEW YORK, AS DEFINED IN SUBDIVISION ONE OF SECTION THREE HUNDRED FIFTY-
TWO OF THIS CHAPTER, THE CITY UNIVERSITY OF NEW YORK, AS ESTABLISHED IN
SECTION SIXTY-TWO HUNDRED THREE OF THIS CHAPTER, OR ANY INSTITUTION
GIVEN THE POWER TO CONFER DEGREES IN THIS STATE BY THE BOARD OF REGENTS
AS PROVIDED IN SECTION TWO HUNDRED EIGHTEEN OF THIS ARTICLE.
(E) "LEGACY PREFERENCE" SHALL MEAN A PREFERENCE IN ADMISSIONS GIVEN BY
A HIGHER EDUCATION INSTITUTION TO APPLICANTS RELATED BY CONSANGUINITY OR
AFFINITY TO ALUMNI OF SUCH INSTITUTION.
2. PROHIBITION. NO HIGHER EDUCATION INSTITUTION IN THIS STATE SHALL:
(A) CONSIDER ALUMNI/AE RELATION AS A FACTOR IN ADMISSIONS; OR
(B) EXECUTE AN EARLY DECISION POLICY FOR UNDERGRADUATE ADMISSIONS.
SUCH PROHIBITION SHALL NOT APPLY, HOWEVER, TO A HIGHER EDUCATION INSTI-
TUTION THAT ASKS APPLICANTS ABOUT RELATIONS TO ALUMNI OF SUCH INSTITU-
TION AFTER AN OFFER OF ADMISSION AND FINANCIAL AID HAS BEEN ACCEPTED FOR
THE PURPOSES OF DATA COLLECTION AND REPORTING. FURTHERMORE, THE PROHI-
BITION HEREIN DESCRIBED SHALL NOT BE CONSTRUED TO APPLY TO AN EARLY
ACTION POLICY AS DEFINED IN PARAGRAPH (B) OF SUBDIVISION ONE OF THIS
3. PENALTY. A VIOLATION OF SUBDIVISION TWO OF THIS SECTION SHALL
RESULT IN A CIVIL PENALTY OF A SUM EQUIVALENT TO TEN PERCENT OF THE
NUMBER OF FULL-TIME EQUIVALENT FIRST YEAR STUDENTS ENROLLED AT THE HIGH-
ER EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTION THE YEAR PREVIOUS TO THE VIOLATION MULTIPLIED
BY SUCH INSTITUTION'S PUBLISHED TUITION AND FEES.
4. DEDICATION OF PENALTY FUNDS. ALL PENALTIES PAID PURSUANT TO SUBDI-
VISION THREE OF THIS SECTION SHALL BE ASSESSED BY THE COMMISSIONER AND
DEPOSITED INTO THE GENERAL FUND OF THE STATE. SUCH MONIES SHALL THEN BE
USED FOR THE DISBURSEMENT OF TUITION ASSISTANCE AWARDS BY THE HIGHER
EDUCATION SERVICES CORPORATION TO ELIGIBLE UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS PURSU-
ANT TO THE PROVISIONS OF SECTIONS SIX HUNDRED SIXTY-SIX, SIX HUNDRED
SIXTY-SEVEN, SIX HUNDRED SIXTY-SEVEN-A, AND SIX HUNDRED SIXTY SEVEN-C OF
§ 4. This act shall take effect on the first of July next succeeding
the date on which it shall have become a law. Effective immediately the
addition, amendment, and/or repeal of any rule or regulation necessary
for the implementation of this act on its effective date are authorized
to be made and completed on or before such effective date.