143 Blacks Matriculate To Class of '97

Number Hits Record High

The highest number of Black students in the College's history will matriculate to the Class of 1997 next fall, according to admissions office data.

Of the record-high 214 Black students admitted, 143 have accepted Harvard's offer, for a yield rate of 66.8 percent--the third highest yield in 12 years, according to Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid William R. Fitzsimmons '67.

The record number of Black matriculants this spring marks a sharp turnaround from last year, when an exceptionally low percentage of Black students accepted admissions offers. Ninety-four of 172 Black students admitted matriculated to the Class of 1996.

In a year of unusually large applicant pools and high admit rates, the yields for all other minority groups, with the exception of Asian Americans, are also high.

Twenty-seven Puerto Rican Americans, 10 Native Americans, 46 Hispanics, 46 Mexican Americans and 33 "others" will join the newest first-year class.

The number of Asian American matriculants is at the lowest in three years, with 286 accepting admission at a yield rate of 81.5 percent. Despite the 5.8 point drop from last year's unusually high yield, the yield for Asian Americans is still the highest of all minorities.


Of the approximately 1,563 students in the Class of 1997, 18.3 percent are Asian American, 9.8 percent are Black, 2.5 percent are Hispanic, 2.5 percent are Mexican American, 1.1 percent are Puerto Rican, .2 percent are Native American and 2.2 percent identify themselves as members of groups "other" than Caucasian.

Fitzsimmons attributes the general rise in minority matriculants, especially Blacks, to an intense recruiting campaign. In addition to a candidate search based on PSAT scores, admissions officers also performed a "second-round" search based on SAT scores.

A team of students at the College, the Undergraduate Minority Recruitment Program and area alumni also engaged in a phone campaign to the admitted students.

"The great success this year tells us that we are certainly on the right track," said Fitzsimmons, who called the College's recruiting efforts the most intensive in the country. "But we have to build on what we have and redouble our efforts next year."

A record high percentage of students in the class of 1997 will also receive some sort of financial aid. Forty-six percent of the matriculants have been offered and packages. The number of students on financial aid has increased steadily over the past few years.

Financial aid officers reported they "have never, ever had a spring as difficult as this." A high number of families demanded reconsideration of their packages based on other school's often non-need based awards, according to Fitzsimmons