It's tougher than ever to get into Ivy Leagues
Several top-tier US colleges report record-low freshman acceptance rates as the pool of applicants surges.
It's never been easy for high school students to secure entry into an Ivy League school, but this year proved more challenging than most.
Harvard, Princeton, Yale and Columbia reported record-low admission rates for students who will enroll as freshmen in the 2013-14 academic year, Bloomberg News reports.
What's driving the low acceptance rates? It's partially just a numbers game, given that applications from would-be Ivy Leaguers climbed to all-time highs or held near their records. As a result, that's pushed down the percentage of applicants who are offered seats at the prestigious schools.
Applicants found out on Thursday whether they made the cut, The New York Times said.
Yale accepted only 6.72% of its applicants, which the Yale Daily News calls "the lowest acceptance rate in university history." The school saw a record 29,610 applicants, but it offered only 1,991 seats.
Harvard also had a record number of applicants -- 35,023 -- which helped to push down its acceptance rate to just 5.8%. Columbia gave the nod to 6.89% of its applicants, while Princeton's rate was 7.3%, Bloomberg notes.
The Ivy Leagues are getting inundated by applications for two reasons, according to Bloomberg. The Common Application, an online form that can be used to apply to multiple schools, has made it easier for students to try to gain entry to a wider number of colleges.
But Ivy League schools are also drawing interest because of their generous financial aid offers. Harvard, Yale, Princeton and Columbia are also "need blind" schools, where the ability of a student's family to pay isn't considered by the admissions office.
Harvard on Tuesday said it would boost its financial-aid budget to $182 million, a 5.8% increase.
"Getting admitted to Harvard College is difficult. Affording Harvard College shouldn’t be," said Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences Dean Michael D. Smith in the Harvard Gazette.
Rising student debt has grown into a huge issue for families and their children, given the average cost of a four-year college topped $22,000 a year for the 2010-11 academic year, triple the expense of just two decades ago, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
For those lucky few who just received acceptances, they have until May 1 to make their decisions.
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