Purdue Sets New Quota System for Admissions from New York, New Jersey

Purdue University has eased a 20-year restriction on the admission of applicants from the metropolitan New York-New Jersey area but has introduced a new quota on admissions to the undergraduate school from the states of New York and New Jersey which does not apply to other states of the Union. The university, a state institution, eased the old ban after Rabbi Gerald Engel. Hillel Foundation director on the campus, and members of the student body had charged that the geographical quota system was actually racist in its operation since a great majority of the applicants from the eastern area were members of minorities, many of them Jewish.

Under the original restriction, admissions from the metropolitan New York-New Jersey area were limited to the children of Purdue graduates. No such limitation was applied to other parts of the country except that out-of-state students were limited to 25 percent of the student enrollment. Under the new arrangement going into effect with the new semester, admissions from New York and New Jersey will be limited to that proportion of the student body which the two states represent.

In a letter to Rabbi Engel, Dr. John W. Hicks, assistant to Purdue president Frederick L. Hovde, denied that the previous system had been intended to discriminate against any minority groups. “To remove the least shadow of doubt, however,” he said, the university was modifying the policy.

Beginning with the first semester of 1970, Dr. Hicks announced, “the blanket restrictions on admission of non-alumni related students from the metropolitan New York area will be removed and the director of admissions is authorized to admit a quota of students from the states of New York and New Jersey based upon their academic standing, with preference still extended to sons and daughters of Purdue Alumni as in the past. The quota shall be based upon the approximate percentage of the population of New York and New Jersey to the total population of the nation.”

The Purdue admissions authorities apparently are continuing efforts to discourage applicants from New York and New Jersey. While letters of inquiry from other states received an encouraging response and application form, applicants from New York and New Jersey receive letters discouraging their further interest. Applicants from New York are told that only 120 freshmen can be admitted from the state in next September’s entering class. New Jersey applicants are told that only 44 can be accepted.

The letters note that preference will be given to sons and daughters of alumni and point out that “since the filing of an application requires a $20 non-refundable application fee and since the number of non-alumni admissions will be so small, we feel all inquirers must know our limitations before they apply.”

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