In an earlier thread, HWC noted

BTW, I just wanted to point out that full-fare customers are also subject to a quota cap. Both Swarthmore and Williams could fill their entire enrollment with full sticker-price customers if they wanted to. But, the remarkable year-to-year consistency indicates pretty clearly that both schools have set a quota for full-fare customers at roughly 50% and 58% respectively — a target set by each schools administration balancing the need for a particular revenue mix (think filling an airplane with tickets at all different prices) and other institutional goals (diversity, international, socio-economic, etc.).

These hidden admissions “quotas” go a long way towards explaining why people think elite college admissions is so random. It may not be that random when you realize that, if you are asking for financial aid, you are already competing for less than half the available slots. That’s before we even start looking at some of the other quotas.

I don’t think that this is true but would be happy to see some evidence of it. I’d wager that the average SAT of a non-legacy, non-athlete white student on financial aid is quite close to that on a non-legacy, non-athlete white student not on financial aid. I guess that there might be a small difference (50 points?) to adjust for the fact that the Admissions office thinks that growing up rich causes higher SAT scores, but I suspect that the amount is so small that it makes no sense to talk about Rich Kid Quotas.

Or am I naive?

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