A record 42,742 students applied for admission to Harvard College’s Class of 2022, an increase of 8.2 percent from the 39,506 applicants for the Class of 2021.
“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,” said William R. Fitzsimmons, dean of admissions and financial aid. “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.”
“Originally aimed at low-income students, HFAI was expanded to include middle-income students in 2007,” said Sarah C. Donahue, Griffin Director of Financial Aid. “Recently a ‘startup’ grant of $2,000 was added for the one in five students whose family incomes are less than $65,000 per year, helping them with moving expenses and other costs incurred in the transition to college.”
Since launching HFAI, Harvard has awarded nearly $1.8 billion in grant aid to undergraduates. The undergraduate financial aid award budget has increased more than 131 percent, from $80 million in 2005 to more than $185 million last year. Further, Harvard’s net-price calculator makes it easy for families to get a sense of the College’s affordability.
Harvard costs the same or less than most public universities for 90 percent of American families. More than half of Harvard students receive need-based financial aid, and the average grant is $53,000. No loans are required. Families with incomes up to $150,000 and typical assets pay 10 percent or less of their annual incomes. Families with higher incomes receive need-based aid depending on individual circumstances. This year, preliminary measures of economic diversity among applicants rose, with 75.5 percent applying for aid and 25.9 percent requesting an application fee waiver.
There are slightly more women (50.3 percent) than men in the applicant pool this year. All geographic areas had increases in applications, especially the central and mountain states and the South, while interest from abroad remained strong.
There were increases across the board in academic interests, topped by a 19.7 percent increase in prospective computer scientists. Minority applications also increased, with an 18.7 percent rise in applications from African-Americans, and a 14.9 percent increase on the part of Asian-Americans.
Applicants will be notified of the admissions committee’s decisions on March 28. Admitted students will be invited to Cambridge to attend Visitas, a special program designed to familiarize them with the opportunities at Harvard. This year Visitas will be held from April 21‒23, and students will have until the national reply date of May 1 to make their final college choices.