Class of 2010 Yield Rises to 80 Percent

Eighty percent of students admitted to the Class of 2010 will matriculate at the College next year, giving Harvard its highest yield in over a quarter century, Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid William R. Fitzsimmons ’67 said yesterday.

Fitzsimmons attributed the high yield primarily to the expanded Harvard Financial Aid Initiative (HFAI), which this year made Harvard free to all students whose parents earn less than $60,000 a year, up from a previous annual salary of $40,000.

Of the 2,109 students who received acceptance letters, 1,684 will attend the College. Because Harvard only aims to enroll 1,675 students, Fitzsimmons said that only five or six students will be admitted off the wait-list this year.

This year’s yield represents a 1.5 percent increase over last year’s rate, which was the highest in the nation.

The admissions office announced yesterday an 85.3 percent yield for students eligible for HFAI, which also sharply reduces the cost for students whose parents make less than $80,000 per year.

Two-thirds of all College students receive an aid package, the statement said.

“We want to make sure that talented students from all economic backgrounds are aware that Harvard and all higher education is open to them,” Fitzsimmons said in an interview yesterday.

Fitzsimmons also attributed the higher yield to an expanded Freshman Seminar Program, the growth of the Faculty, and an increase in study abroad opportunities.

Since 2000, the seminar program has grown dramatically, jumping from 36 course offerings to 141 this year.

“That kind of change really underscores the fact that students will have access immediately to senior faculty,” Fitzsimmons added.

Similarly, since 2002 the number of professors has increased from 635 to 703. Fitzsimmons said that the rise “also says very good things about accessibility and office hours, research opportunities, and mentor possibilities.”

Harvard’s yield this year will likely once again top its peers. Last year, Harvard’s 78.5 percent bettered Yale’s 72 percent, Princeton’s 67.7 percent, and the University of Pennsylvania’s 66 percent yields.

This year’s yield from those three universities has not yet been released. Admissions officers there could not be reached for comment.

The Class of 2010 will also be comprised of a record-high 53 percent women and 8.8 percent Latinos, the statement said.

—Staff writer Benjamin L. Weintraub can be reached at bweintr@fas.harvard.edu.