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THE ADMISSIONS OFFICE seems destined for hard times in the next decade. Thanks to rising tuitions, the declining teenage population, and increasing competition from other colleges, Harvard's applicant pool will decline from 13,500 last year to fewer than 10,000 by 1985, according to a recent study.
Those worried about the academic quality of Harvard's student body have little cause for concern: We are confident that the University can continue to glean the usual 1600 good students from even a reduced pool. But what does scare us is the potential impact on diversity, that favorite of buzzwords of admissions directors.
The students on whom rising tuitions and declining federal aid are most likely to take their toll are the very ones who have helped make Harvard's student body more diverse in recent years. The decision of the Admissions Office to step up recruiting for minorities and other under-represented groups is heartening in this regard, but even more can be done.
The deans of Ivy League admissions offices will meet this week to discuss joint strategies; we urge them to maintain--and, if possible, increase--already generous financial aid offerings. They should also, together, call upon the federal government to restore student loan programs targeted for elimination. Commitment to financial assistance is particularly crucial in light of a recent estimate by one financial aid officer that total yearly cost here will reach $30,000 per year within ten years.
The Admissions Office thus far has done more to foster genuine equality of opportunity here than almost any other part of this University; we urge them to keep up the good work by coping, as imaginatively as possible, with the all-too-likely cuts in applicants and federal aid.
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