A Harvard Gazette article reports that Harvard College received a record-breaking 35,000 applications for admission to the Ivy League school next fall. That number reflects a 15% increase from last year and a 50% increase from four years ago.
The increase is at least partly attributed to Harvard’s “significantly enhanced” need-based financial aid program which has made the college more affordable and accessible to students from low- and middle-income families.
The poor economy, the article suggests, has also contributed to the increase in applications. “As we have witnessed during previous periods of economic uncertainty, students and their families are particularly anxious to seek the best and most affordable option for higher education,” said William R. Fitzsimmons, dean of admissions and financial aid. “Harvard’s financial aid enhancements came none too soon for families who are facing daunting financial challenges, including job losses, underemployment, increasing medical expenses, underwater mortgages, and home foreclosures. The unwavering commitment of President Drew Faust, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Michael Smith, and Dean of Harvard College Evelynn Hammonds to ensure that Harvard remains open to everyone regardless of financial need is greatly appreciated by current and future Harvard undergraduates.”
Other contributing factors to Harvard’s application boom include the new School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and the availability of online application services.
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