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Harvard Freshman Applications Drop 2.1% as Midwest Leads Decline

Harvard University
More Harvard University applicants requested application fee waivers, 23 percent compared with 16 percent last year. Photographer: Michael Fein/Bloomberg

Feb. 3 (Bloomberg) -- Applications to Harvard College declined by 2.1 percent as fewer students from the Midwest, New England and abroad sought seats in the freshman class.

The Cambridge, Massachusetts-based school received 34,295 applications, down from 35,023 last year, according to a statement today. Students will be notified of admissions decisions March 27.

The contraction in the number of U.S. high-school graduates began with the class of 2012 and future increases will be minor and temporary, according to a 2013 report from the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education. Harvard had “geographic shifts” in areas where the report projected decreases, such as a 5.8 percent decline from the Midwest and a 5.1 percent drop from New England, Marlyn McGrath, director of admissions, said in the statement. Harvard also had 3.4 percent fewer international students apply.

More Harvard applicants also requested application fee waivers, 23 percent compared with 16 percent last year. About 60 percent of Harvard students received need-based aid, and the school requires no contribution from the 20 percent of families with annual incomes of less than $65,000.

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

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Lisa Wolfson at

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