Jewish Congress Survey Analyzes Chances for Scholarship Winners

A four-year study of the experiences of over 1, 300 New York State scholarship winners in seeking admission to college reveals that Catholic and Protestant high school graduates have a higher acceptance rate than Jewish students and that such discrimination could not be explained by any differences in grades, extra-curricular activity, residence, or other factors, the American Jewish Congress announced today.

These latest findings, based on two separate surveys conducted by the American Jewish Congress among 1347 scholarship winners of 1950 and 1952, show that the combined acceptance rates for 1950 and 1952 were 97.6 percent for Catholic applicants; 97.0 percent for Protestant applicants and 84. 7 percent for Jewish applicants.

A significant finding of the study was that in 1950 and in 1952, the public colleges operated by New York City accepted all applicants in the scholarship group, regardless of religion or ancestry. On the other hand, the evidence suggests that the admissions practices of New York City and State private colleges–denominational and non-denominational–do not yet match those of the city’s public colleges.

The acceptance rate by New York City’s private non-denominational colleges in 1950 was 100 percent for both Catholic and Protestant male applicants. The rate for Jewish males was only 87. 2 percent. In 1952, the acceptance rate for these same colleges was 100 percent for Catholic and Protestant males, and 88. 7 percent for Jewish male scholarship winner.

In up-state New York private non-denominational colleges, the 1950 and 1952 combined acceptance rate was 100 percent for Protestant scholarship winners; 85. 7 percent for Catholic students; and 82 percent for Jewish winners.

Religious discrimination was revealed particularly in the statistics relating to student admissions to the colleges of their first choice. In 1950, the study shows, 98.4 percent of the Protestant and 97. 3 percent of the Catholic applicants were admitted to their first-choice college; while only 85. 7 percent of the Jewish applicants were successful in obtaining admission to their school of first preference.

In 1952, comparable data show that 97.6 percent of the Protestant applicants were admitted to the college of their first-choice; Catholics had an even higher rate of first-choice admissions, 100 percent; while 89. 5 percent of the Jewish respondents were admitted, a gain of 3. 8 percent over 1950.

“In summary, ” the study declares, “Jewish high school graduates, even those who won state scholarships, are less likely to obtain admission to the school of their first choice than Protestant or Catholic graduates. ” The study was conducted by Will Maslow, AJC director of the Commission on Law and Social Action.

Although the study points to a fairly high rate of acceptance of Jewish scholarship winners by particular colleges or groups of colleges, Mr. Maslow emphasized, “it by no means follows that Jewish applicants who were not scholarship winners were accepted at a similar high rate. The high acceptance rate of scholarship winners cannot be viewed as indicating that colleges and universities are accepting a high proportion of all Jewish applicants, ” he said.

NEXT STORY