Early Action has returned to Harvard, with a total of 4,245 students applying in this first cycle. Applicants will be notified of the Admissions Committee’s decisions on Dec. 15.

Rose Lincoln/Harvard Staff Photographer

Campus & Community

Early Action returns

3 min read

Class of 2016 sees 4,245 applicants in this cycle

Early Action has returned to Harvard College after a four-year absence.  A total of 4,245 students have applied, and this year’s applicant pool is considerably more diverse ethnically and socioeconomically than that of any previous Early Action cycle. Compared with the Class of 2011, when 4,010 applied early, African-Americans now comprise 9.1 percent of the pool, a 61 percent increase; Latinos comprise 9.1 percent, a 31 percent increase; Native Americans make up 1.1 percent, a 29 percent increase; and financial aid applicants are nearly 72 percent of the pool, a 9.4 percent increase.

“We are delighted to have such a diverse applicant pool,” said William R. Fitzsimmons, dean of admissions and financial aid.  “One of our major concerns about Early Action in the past was a lack of diversity.  The additional travel we conducted in nearly 20 cities with Princeton and the University of Virginia may have played a part in changing that.  We look forward to sustaining that outreach in the future even though all three of us have returned to early admission.  All three institutions have also emphasized the public policy benefits of inclusionary admissions and financial aid policies in other recruitment, particularly important in these challenging economic times,” he said.

Harvard’s Nov. 1 application deadline for Early Action was extended to Nov. 4 in response to the storm that affected the eastern part of the nation.  Applicants will be notified of the Admissions Committee’s decisions on Dec. 15.  Early Action at Harvard is nonbinding for admitted students, who are free to apply to other institutions and need only reply to Harvard by May 1, the National Common Notification Date.

Admitted financial aid applicants will be informed of their financial aid awards as soon as they complete their financial aid forms.  All applicants to Harvard, Early or Regular (Jan. 1 application deadline for March 29 notification) have access to Harvard’s new Net Price Calculator, a simple, one-page application available on Harvard’s website that provides an estimate of a family’s eligibility under Harvard’s generous need-based financial aid program.

Families with annual incomes of $65,000 or less and normal assets are no longer required to contribute to their children’s educational expenses.  Those with incomes from $65,000 to $150,000 pay on a sliding scale up to 10 percent of annual income, and there is also need-based aid available to families with incomes greater than $150,000.  Home equity and retirement funds are not considered in the calculations, and students are no longer required to take out loans.  More than 60 percent of Harvard students receive need-based financial aid and receive grants averaging more than $40,000.