A survey of the experiences of 1,235 top-ranking New York high school seniors in seeking college admission has revealed “no significant evidence” of religious discrimination, the American Jewish Congress disclosed today in a report transmitted to State Education Commissioner James E. Allen, Jr.
The study by the American Jewish Congress shows a marked decline in religious bias encountered by college-bound students compared with similar surveys undertaken in 1949 and 1952. The latest study was based on a sampling of high school seniors throughout New York State who applied for scholarships awarded annually by the New York Board of Regents.
A two-page questionnaire was mailed to 4, 641 members of the June 1958 graduating class–every seventh name from a list of 32, 876 male and female applicants for Regents Scholarships. The sample was compiled by the New York State Department of Education, which also helped to prepare the questionnaire. A total of 1, 235 completed questionnaires were returned. Nearly 70 percent of the respondents were in the top quarter of their graduating classes and 35 percent were actually granted scholarships.
Of the 1, 235 completed questionnaires, 37.1 percent came from Jewish students; 30.8 percent from Protestants; 29.1 percent from Catholics and 3.0 percent from those of other religions or with no religion. Nearly half–43.6 percent– of the questionnaires came from New York City students. The rest came from other parts of the state. The survey disclosed that Jewish students tended to file more applications to various colleges than their Christian classmates.
An analysis of the comparative acceptance rate for Jewish and Protestant students by the college of their first choice showed that the Jewish rate of acceptance was 74,0 percent, compared with 84.7 percent for Protestants. This difference is held not significant, since the first choices of each group were not comparable. Thus, 38. 4 percent of the Jewish students in the survey applied to “Ivy League” schools–generally agreed to have the highest admission standards–as compared with 26. 8 percent of the Protestant students.
A comparison of the rate of acceptance by the “Ivy League” schools according to religion showed that 67. 5 percent of the Jewish students and 73. 5 percent of the Protestants who applied were accepted. The small difference is considered not statistically significant and may be due to chance.
Results of the study, indicating that no measurable religious discrimination is encountered in college entrance by top-ranking Jewish students, were attributed by the American Jewish Congress to the operation of state fair education laws prohibiting religious discrimination by schools in New York and Massachusetts, in which the largest number of colleges covered in the survey are located. The AJC also cited a “general lessening of racial and religious prejudice in the North during the last decade. “
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.