Harvard College accepted 3.19 percent of applicants to its Class of 2026 — the lowest rate in the school’s history — as it saw a record high number of candidates apply for the second straight year.
A total of 1,214 students received offers of admission at 7 p.m. on Thursday, joining the 740 students who were accepted via early admission in December. The acceptance rate is down from the 3.43 percent of students admitted to the Class of 2025 last year — which marked the previous record-low.
Applications to the College jumped by almost 7 percent, with 61,220 students submitting applications to the school, compared to 57,435 last year.
“It’s truly a wonderful class,” Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid William R. Fitzsimmons ’67 said in an interview Thursday. “I think anyone who is in the Class of 2026 could certainly claim — as we claimed for the Class of 1967 — that it’s the greatest class in the history of Harvard.”
Harvard also announced Thursday that it will cover the full cost of attendance — including tuition, room and board, and all fees — for students whose families make under $75,000. The previous threshold for full financial aid was $65,000. The College expects the average aided family contribution to be $12,700.
Fitzsimmons said more generous financial aid policies allow “students from every conceivable background” access to Harvard, which he said would help make the world “a better place.”
“The world’s greatest students can now realistically think about coming to places like ours,” he said.
The Class of 2026 includes the highest percentage of students eligible for Pell Grants, typically awarded to low income students — 20.5 percent of admitted students are eligible for the federal program, up from 20.4 the previous year.
Out of the admitted students, 20.3 percent will be the first in their families to go to college, down slightly from 20.7 the previous year.