Diversity Declines in 2003 Admissions

While things may change in the final analysis as admitted students consider and choose their future colleges, it seems the tide of increasing diversity has paused with regards to Harvard's Class of 2003.

According to information released by the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid, the number of minority students admitted to next year's entering class shows small declines in nearly all ethnic categories. The declines in most cases were less than 1 percent.

The number of Asian-American students admitted showed the greatest decline, falling from 18 percent last year to 16.4 percent this year, matching the previous low in the Class of 2000.

The percentage of black admitted students remained fairly stable at 9.8 percent, compared with 9.9 percent last year.


Mexican-American admits declined .4 percent to 3.1 percent, Hispanic-American students increased from 3.4 to 3.7 percent and the percentage of Puerto Rican students remained unchanged at 1.7.

American Indian admits rose to 1 percent of the total class versus .6 percent last year.

The declines in minority admissions come on the heels of a fiercely competitive admissions season. The University received 18,160 applications--just 23 shy of the record set by the Class of 2000, a year where minority admissions also took a downturn.

While acknowledging there is still more work to do in attracting minorities to the University, admissions office officials attributed this year's declines to annual fluctuation and not larger problems in with the University.

"Minority candidates competed very successfully with one of the most competitive pools in history," said Dean of Admissions of Financial Aid William R. Fitzsimmons '67. "We are always aware that we can do better."

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