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Class of 2026: Record Admissions at Many Top Colleges

Top colleges saw historically competitive admissions this year for the Class of 2026. A number of Ivy League institutions reported record application numbers and historically low acceptance rates, Forbes reports.


Harvard received 61,220 applications this year, a 7% increase from last year’s 57,435. The acceptance rate for Harvard’s Class of 2026 was 3.19%—the lowest rate in school history. Harvard also announced that it would be expanding financial aid starting with the Class of 2026, including offering free cost of education—with tuition, room, board, and all fees covered—for families with annual incomes of $75,000 or less. Nearly a quarter of Harvard undergraduates come from a family whose annual income is $75,000 or less.

“The Class of 2026 is truly remarkable in every way, and we hope they will choose to come to Harvard in the fall,” William R. Fitzsimmons, dean of admissions and financial aid, says. “Beyond their academic and extracurricular accomplishments noted in their applications are the many contributions they made to their families, schools, and communities during a time of pandemic and economic challenge.”

Other Ivy League schools that saw record admissions include Brown University, which accepted 2,546 students out of 50,649, and Yale university, which admitted 2,234 students from an applicant pool of 50,015.


It wasn’t just Ivy League schools that saw record applications this year. Many top colleges across the nation reported significant growth in applications for the Class of 2026.

The University of Michigan saw more than 84,000 students apply this year, a 6% increase over last year. The University of Virginia recorded 50,962 application, up from last year’s total of 48,011. At New York University, 105,000 applications were received, a 5% jump from last year. The university admitted only 12.2% of applicants—a record low acceptance rate for NYU.

“Even with the ongoing challenges presented by the pandemic, this group inspires us, coming from a wide range of interests, passions, and backgrounds to make up one of the most diverse applicant pools in NYU history,” Jonathan Williams, assistant vice president for undergraduate admissions, says in a official statement. “With all the turmoil in the world and reasons to be pessimistic about our future, these future leaders and change-makers inspire us to remain hopeful.”

Sources: Inside Higher Ed, Forbes, The Harvard Gazette

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