University of Pennsylvania, Duke Applications Set Records on Financial Aid

Applications for undergraduate admission rose to record levels at the University of Pennsylvania and Duke University as students were attracted by financial-aid policies.

The sticker price for students exceeds $50,000 a year at both institutions. Duke, in Durham, North Carolina, received more than 29,500 applications for the next academic year, an increase of 10 percent to an all-time high, according to a statement today. Penn’s applications rose 14 percent to about 30,800, from almost 27,000 a year ago, the university in Philadelphia said in a separate statement.

“We believe that one of the primary reasons for this significant increase is Penn’s no-loan financial aid policies, which enable students who qualify for aid to graduate free of debt,” said Eric J. Furda, Penn’s dean of admissions, who called the number of applicants a record.

At Duke, “families are responding to our commitment to make Duke affordable,” said Christoph Guttentag, dean of undergraduate admissions. More than 60 percent of applicants to the campus indicated they will apply for financial aid, he said.

Duke has “need-blind” admissions and will “meet 100 percent of demonstrated financial need,” according to the statement.

College Costs

Duke’s costs for tuition, fees, room and board total $52,405 this academic year, compared with $51,944 at Penn. The expense for the next entering class hasn’t been set at either institution.

Penn said it will release decisions on regular-admission applicants on March 30. Duke said it will notify applicants in early April. Early-admission candidates have already been notified at both universities.

Students in California sent in 4,032 applications, the most of any state to Penn, Furda said today in an e-mail. That figure was equal to 13 percent of Penn’s total.

Penn’s early applications, which were due in November rather than this month, climbed 19 percent to 4,571, the university said in December. That percentage increase was the largest in the Ivy League, a group of eight universities in the northeastern U.S., according to data provided by each institution. The early applications were included in the total released today.

To contact the reporter on this story: Janet Lorin in New York

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jonathan Kaufman at

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