As of Monday, 545 of the 1180 students admitted to the Class of 2016 had indicated their intention to enroll at the College next fall. This number puts the Class of 2016 at a yield of 46 percent. “It’s the highest yield rate we’ve had in the last five years,” said Dick Nesbitt, director of admission. For the Class of 2015, 547 students of the 1201 admitted enrolled, resulting in a yield of 45 percent.
The current number of 545 is expected to increase, as “a couple [of admitted students] were waiting for financial aid packages” or there were “checks in the mail,” Nesbitt said. “Coming in at 545 is pretty perfect. It could go as high as 549.”
The target class size for next year’s first-year class is 550 students, which has been a consistent goal for the last three years. “We want to have more than 550 [matriculated students] as a cushion,” Nesbitt indicated, in order to accommodate the “summer melt,” which includes students who decide to either postpone their admittance for a year, are removed from the waitlist at another institution or choose to withdraw from the class for other reasons.
Regarding the students on the College’s waitlist, Nesbitt said, “We’ll probably go for five to 10 students initially and wait to see how that melts back.” Overall, having 545 students already commit by sending in their deposits is “a great position to be in,” he said, given that the target size is 550. Last year, the College took 12 students off the waitlist, a decrease from the Class of 2014’s 35 students. “The waitlist process can drag on through June. It doesn’t all happen at once,” Nesbitt said.
So far, the Class of 2016 will yield a 47-percent male population and a 53-percent female population.
Of the students who intend to enroll at the College, 38 percent are American students of color. Fifty-eight identify as African American, 73 as Asian American, six as Native American and 71 as Latino, which Nesbitt indicated is “by far a new record.” In total, 28 students – a total of five percent of the Class of 2016 – are non-U.S. citizens, a number lower than expected. “We had hoped to yield seven percent,” Nesbitt said. “[Non-U.S. citizens] is probably an area we’ll be looking at on the waitlist.”
Additionally, 78 matriculants have an alumni parent, and 96 express “intellectual vitality,” meaning that in their recommendations, teachers specifically indicated that these students contributed to an exceptional extent in the classroom. Nesbitt indicated that the Office of Admissions judged applicants with a more discerning eye this year in terms of this category.
Furthermore, 18 students are from the local area, 38 are U.S. or dual citizens who have lived abroad, 32 are Questbridge scholars and 80 are considered first-generation students, meaning that they are the first in their family to attend a four-year college.
Information regarding financial aid for the Class of 2016 has also recently been mailed to incoming students. “Currently, 50 percent of the incoming class is receiving financial aid,” said Paul Boyer, director of financial aid. More than $11.3 million in need-based aid has been awarded to the Class of 2016. “We expect this amount to increase to about $11.5 million, as we have not yet re-packaged all the students admitted early decision,” he said.
“There is no precise allocation for financial aid each year. The College spends what it needs to [in order] to meet the full demonstrated financial need of all students who qualify for aid,” Boyer continued. The amount of financial aid allocated generally increases each year to keep pace with the increase in tuition, fees and room and board costs.
The average aid package for the Class of 2016 is currently $42,871. This number includes a campus job of $1800 and an average loan of $1950; scholarship money covers the remainder. “We have not packaged federal, state or private grants and scholarships yet, so the components of the aid packages will change over the course of the summer, but the average will stay about the same,” Boyer said. “The Williams Scholarship will eventually make up about 85 percent of the average package, after federal, state and outside scholarships are subtracted.”