Higher Education

Harvard hard to enter in hard times

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Harvard University, the world's richest university, told on Monday that 112 students applied for a spot in the class of 2013 out of which only 7 % were accepted. This reflected the lowest number in the history of the school and down from 7.9 % last year. Many U.S. universities are seeing a surge in enrollment as the baby-boomer generation's kids graduate from high school. But unlike Ivy League peers Princeton, Yale and Stanford, Harvard has not significantly expanded the size of a freshman undergraduate class in more than two decades.

It has, however, rolled out a series of financial aid incentives in recent years. The Class of 2013 will receive the most financial aid in Harvard history, with US$147 million in scholarships alone. That is up 8 % from last year. 70% Harvard students receive some form of financial aid. The Harvard Financial Aid Initiative, which was announced in 2004, slashed the amount low-income students must pay to attend the oldest U.S. institute of higher learning. Under the program, students from families earning less than US$ 60,000 a year do not have to contribute to the cost of tuition, which together with room and board, reaches US$ 47,000 a year. Those from families earning between US$ 60,000 and US$ 80,000 also pay far less than they would have in previously. About 25 % of the Class of 2013 are eligible for the program. Harvard also caps tuition at 10 percent of income from families earning up to US$180,000. The school said it would mail out acceptance letters on Tuesday. Nearly 18 % of those accepted to the Class of 2013 are Asian, a record 10.9 % are Latino and 10.8 % are black.

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