Admission sees yield rate increase

May 24, 2010, 1:03 a.m.

Despite initial predictions by the Office of Undergraduate Admission of a decreased yield rate for the Class of 2014, a record-high 72 percent of 2,300 admitted students accepted their offers of admission this year.

“It’s a very respectable yield,” said Richard Shaw, dean of admission. “It’s probably one of the highest yields in the country.”

According to a survey by The New York Times, Harvard had a yield of 76 percent, Dartmouth reported 55 percent, the University of Pennsylvania held steady with a yield of 63 percent and Cornell received acceptances from 49 percent of admits.

Stanford’s 72-percent yield represents approximately a one percent increase since last year. Shaw said the office had predicted some wait list activity, but that the better-than-expected yield left room for only 26 students from the 998-person list.

“We are an incredible place,” Shaw said. “Our greatest challenge is convincing students that this has to be among their top choices. We’re competing with a number of other excellent options.”

According to Shaw, “an immense amount of time and effort” is put into the selection process, resulting in appealing Admit Weekend programs during the response period.

Shaw said a positive impact on this year’s yield came from Stanford’s subsidization of travel costs for students from low-income families during Admit Weekend.

He cited a number of other factors that contributed to the increase in accepted offers of admission, including enhanced outreach to all 50 states and strong financial aid.

“We weren’t sure what to expect, given the country’s current economic issues,” Shaw said. “I thought the yield would be lower, because of the economy. But we also have some of the best financial aid in the country, and some students decide based on that.”

Financial aid policies and amounts for next year were finalized in February and will not be affected by the higher yield.

Even families who might appear to be able to pay may be suffering a number of challenges in an economy where assets have decreased across the board, Shaw said. Families with a total income of less than $100,000 a year will continue to be responsible for no more than about $12,000, and families making less than $60,000 have zero expected parental contribution.

Student Housing’s shift of 40 undergraduate students into the previously graduate-only Rains apartment buildings raised the question of whether or not the increased yield would further impact on-campus housing. Shaw said close work with orientation planners and Housing has resulted in having both housing assignments and class sizes on target.

“We’re quite pleased,” Shaw said. “We’ll land this baby at 1,675.”

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