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Admissions Yield Numbers Rise Again

Close to eighty percent of admitted students accept Harvard’s offer

By Alex B. Ginsberg, Crimson Staff Writer

Nearly 80 percent of students accepted for the Class of 2007 will matriculate this fall, the admissions office announced yesterday, continuing the high yield the College has maintained over the past several years.

The high yield came in a year in which admissions officers were inundated with a record number of applications—20,987, up from 19,609—and accepted an all-time low 9.8 percent of applicants for 1,650 spots.

But after a number of years of steady growth, Dean of Admissions William R. Fitzsimmons ’67 said that the number of applications for the Class of 2008 will likely decrease and that the yield may drop as many as three to four percentage points.

Fitzsimmons said the change will result from the College’s recent decision not to allow next year’s applicants to apply early to Harvard and other non-binding “early action” programs simultaneously, as it had in recent years. This cycle, Harvard also allowed its early applicants to apply to binding “early decision” programs.

A University press release issued last month attributed the reversal in policy in part to logistical concerns over a flood of applications.

Fitzsimmons, however, denied yesterday that processing concerns figured prominently in the policy change.

The new policy, he said, is intended to take the pressure to apply early off of students and encourage them to “slow down and to take senior year to decide which school they want to go to.”

“If students make thoughtful decisions and are happy, it will be better for everyone in the long run,” Fitzsimmons said.

The demographic breakdown of the incoming class will roughly resemble that of the past several admission cycles.

Blacks will comprise 8.5 percent of the Class of 2007—up from 6.9 percent last year. Asian Americans, Latinos and Native Americans will make up 17.5, 7.9 and .8 percent of the class, respectively, figures which mirror last year’s numbers.

And a year after some worried that the highly-publicized conflict between former Fletcher University Professor Cornel R. West ’74 and University President Lawrence H. Summers would hurt the University’s reputation among minorities, the percentage yield for black students increased 4.7 points, up to 65.9 percent. This figure marks the highest black yield in at least five years.

According to Director of Financial Aid Sally C. Donahue, the Class of 2007 also will benefit from a record level of financial aid.

She said the College expects to allocate $72 million in grant-based packages for all undergraduates next year, rising from $68 million this year.

Donahue said that the hike in financial aid exceeds the rising cost of tuition, a reflection of the College’s commitment to ease the financial burden placed on students and their families.

She said that both student borrowing and debt have decreased substantially in recent years.

—Staff writer Alex B. Ginsberg can be reached at

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