Friday, May 8, 2009

Yield Holds Steady For The Class of 2013 At Harvard

Seventy six percent of students offered a place in the College’s Class of 2013 have accepted, the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid told The Crimson on Wednesday in a preliminary release of admissions statistics.

This number does not include students who have chosen to defer admission a year, nor does it include students who will later be admitted off the waitlist.

Dean of Admissions William R. Fitzsimmons ’67 said this year’s yield could even rise slightly above last year’s 78 percent once waitlist spots are offered, attributing the high figure to the College’s financial aid program, which the University has pledged to honor despite an “unprecedented economic downturn.” According to Fitzsimmons, the number of families who contacted the financial aid office to ask about financial aid doubled this year.

Fitzsimmons said that even from early data, it is clear that the incoming freshman class will be the most socioeconomically diverse Harvard has seen. The fraction of students in the class receiving financial aid could be as high as 65 percent, compared to approximately 60 percent this year.

“Given the economic downturn, the yield could have plummeted. The fact that it remained high is enormously encouraging, it is a measure of the strength of Harvard itself and the effectiveness of the financial aid program,” he said.

The admissions office has determined that yield rates were equal among those students who qualified for financial aid and those students who have not. The number may even be slightly higher for the former group, Fitzsimmons said, which he said demonstrated that “financial need would not deter people from coming here.”

The Class of 2013 will also be the most racially diverse in College history—with Black students composing 10 percent of the class and Latino students composing 9.5 percent. Yield for Black students was almost 71 percent, up from last year’s 64 percent, and 66 percent for Latino students (the number for last year was unavailable).

The first round of waitlist deliberations will run from today until the 19th. Fitzsimmons said that “at least 85 if not more” will be taken off the list in the coming weeks, as the office is still waiting to hear from some admitted students.

The admissions office aims to have all decisions out by July 1, Fitzsimmons said. He added that it is possible that students admitted off the waitlist will begin hearing as early as today, but more should find out by the middle of next week.

The number of students admitted from the waitlist will depend in part on the number of students who choose to defer their offers of admission for a year.

So far, 31 students have elected to defer, a number that the admissions office expects to rise. This number is usually between 30-50 students and does not seem to be affected by any particular variable, Fitzsimmons said, though he added it was possible that the bad economy could cause fewer people to defer this year.

—Staff writer Jillian K. Kushner can be reached at kushner@fas.harvard.

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