Ivy League colleges Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Brown and Dartmouth see record number of applications for Class of 2022
By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS
More high school seniors are taking a chance at their dream of attending an Ivy League university. Five of the Ivies released their application data for the Class of 2022; Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Brown and Dartmouth. All saw application increases between 7 and 14 percent, pushing them to all break their previous records. Harvard had 42,742 applications, up 8.2 percent, Yale had 35,305 applications, up 7.3 percent, Brown had 35,368 applications, up 8 percent and Dartmouth with 22,005 applications up 9.8 percent. Princeton, however, saw the biggest increase in applications with up 14 percent. Three of the Ivies; Cornell, Columbia and the University of Pennsylvania did not release their data. Increase in financial aid packages at the Ivies are attracting the record number of applicants with more minority and low-income students.
This past cycle, Harvard saw a record number of applications with 42,742 students applying. The college credits the increase on their financial aid packages and consideration for more low-income students applying. For the Class of 2022, there was as the Harvard Gazette notes, an “increase of 8.2 percent from the 39,506 applicants for the Class of 2021.”
Harvard’s dean of admissions and financial aid, William R. Fitzsimmons explained how unique their aid program is for students. The dean said, “Harvard’s revolutionary financial aid initiative (HFAI), begun 15 years ago and enhanced since then, led the way again this year in attracting students of excellence from throughout the nation and around the world.
Applications have doubled since the inception of the program — and each year more and more students are excited to learn that Harvard is open to outstanding students from all economic backgrounds.” For the majority, Harvard’s cost of tuition and fees is almost the same as public universities, because of their financial aid program. As the Gazette indicates, “More than half of Harvard students receive need-based financial aid, and the average grant is $53,000.” Students with families that make up to $150,000, pay only “10 percent or less of their annual incomes.” There are even allowances in certain cases for students whose families annual incomes are above that amount.
Students coming from the lower income brackets earning less than $65,000 a year can now access a “start-up” grant of $2,000 to help them as they start their studies. The Gazette pointed out for the Class of 2022, “Preliminary measures of economic diversity among applicants rose, with 75.5 percent applying for aid and 25.9 percent requesting an application fee waiver.”
This year’s applicant pool is the most diverse demographically for the college, 50.3 percent are women, there is also a 18.7 percent increase of African-American students, and 14.9 percent more Asian-American student applications. There was also an increase in the number of American students applying from all four regions of the country, but the biggest increase was from the South. International student applications, however, remain the same level as from the Class of 2021.
Yale saw the largest increase in applications for their college in the last five years, with 35,305 applications and rising 7.3 percent since the Class of 2021. As the Yale Daily News explains, “Last year, the number of applications rose around 5 percent from 31,439 for the Class of 2020 to 32,891 for the Class of 2021. Before that, the number of applications rose by 4 percent, from 30,227 for the Class of 2019.” In the five years applications have increased by 19 percent.
Yale is trying to “emphasize” that it is not the number of applications, but the calibre and achievements of their applicants That matters. Dean of Undergraduate Admissions and Financial Aid Jeremiah Quinlan, commented to the Daily News, “As always, we do not measure success simply by the number of applications we receive. Quality matters much more to the admissions committee.”
The increase in applicants has been across all demographics especially minority groups. In the last five years, 40 percent more racial and ethnic minorities, who are American citizens and residents applied, and there were 37 percent first-generation college students applying. The number that pleases Associate Director of Admissions Mark Dunn the most is the increase of low-income students, whose numbers have increased by 113 percent. Yale has campaigned to reach out to these “high achieving” students, and this past summer mailed 30,000 incoming high school students emphasizing Yale’s “affordability” with financial aid.
Financial-aid is predominately behind the increase of applications at all the Ivies sand elite universities, but Yale has an additional attraction; two new residential colleges that opened at that start of the academic year. The college accepted 200 more students to the Class of 2021. Dunn commented, “I think this helped inspire more high school students who looked to their graduating peers to consider Yale.”
Brown also saw record number of applications for the Class of 2022, they received 35,368 applications, up 8 percent from the previous year.
Dean of Admission Logan Powell lauded the applicants in a statement to the Brown Daily Herald. Powell called those vying to be apart of the Class of 2022 “ as strong as any pool in our history.” Powell commended the students, saying, “We continue to be humbled by the incredible talent and diversity of perspective represented in the applicant pool.”
Although application numbers increased from the Class of 2021 across all demographics they’re was a rise in minorities, first generation and low-income students applying. The largest increase was in the number of students of color applying, with a 16 percent increase, representing 45 percent of all applicants up from 42 percent for the Class of 2021.
There was a 13 percent increase in the number of first generation students applying with 18 percent in total up from 17 percent the previous cycle.
The applicants come from “all 50 states” predominantly “California, New York and Massachusetts.” There it’s also a large international contingent, with applicants from “149 other nations” with the biggest share applying from “China, India, and Canada.” The majority of applicants, 60 percent are women.
Dartmouth College had a larger increase in applications than most of the Ivies, jumping 9.8 percent to 22,005 high school senior applying. Lee Coffin, vice provost for enrollment and dean of admissions and financial aid remarked, “The big increases in this year’s pools reflect the early success of our expanded recruitment and the new communications plan we have adopted. We have refocused our message to emphasize excellence in teaching and undergraduate access to outstanding teacher-scholars—and students are responding. While the quantity has risen, so has the quality of this year’s applicant pool.”
Of all the Ivies, Princeton saw the greatest increase in applications and the only one above 10 percent. There were 35,386 high school seniors vying a place in Princeton’s Class of 2022, an increase of 14 percent than from the previous year. To demonstrate just how many more applications Princeton received this cycle the Daily Princetonian noted that in 2008, when students applied for the Class of 2012 there were only 13,695 applications, making a 158 percent increase in applications in the past 10 years.
Dean of Admission Janet Rapelye believes the “University’s expanded outreach” is the reason for the larger numbers. Rapelye told the Princetonian, “We have certainly done more outreach to students in this country and traveled widely throughout the world to make sure that we are reaching qualified students.” As with the other Ivies generous financial aid packages are attracting more lower-income students. Rapelye recounted, “We are working more closely with community-based organizations in cities and national organizations that are working with low-income students.”
The was an increase in applications in all demographic groups, but it was most notable among first generation college students, with 16 percent more applying. This is also the first time since 1990, that Princeton is accepting transfer students; another attempt to reach minorities and low-income students, however only 10 to 12 will accepted. The Class of 2022, however, will be smaller 1296 versus the 1306 accepted last year.
All the Ivy League colleges will notify students of the regular cycle decisions on Wednesday, March 28, 2018, and students will have until May 1, to accept or decline the offer of admission. The colleges will still only accept the roughly the same number of students they do each year , and the record high number of applications will only contribute to record low acceptance rates.
Bonnie K. Goodman BA, MLIS (McGill University), is a journalist, librarian, historian & editor. She is a former Features Editor at the History News Network & reporter at Examiner.com where she covered politics, universities, religion and news. She has a dozen years experience in education & political journalism.