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Harvard University applications rise 9 percent

A record 37,305 applied for a spot in Harvard’s Class of 2019.
A record 37,305 applied for a spot in Harvard’s Class of 2019. JOSH REYNOLDS FOR THE BOSTON GLOBE/File

Harvard applications rose 9 percent over last year amid publicity about financial aid and expanded multimedia outreach to prospective students, the college said Friday.

A record 37,305 applied for a spot in the Class of 2019. Last year, 34,295 applied.

Other Ivy League colleges reported an increase in applications, including Columbia, Princeton, Brown, and the University of Pennsylvania, Bloomberg News reported.

Yale said its applications had declined 2 percent from the previous year because it reduced the number of mailings to prospective students.

At Harvard, William R. Fitzsimmons, dean of admissions and financial aid, attributed the larger applicant pool at the Cambridge college in part to two factors: publicity surrounding a $150 million gift for financial aid from hedge-fund manager Kenneth Griffin, a Harvard alumnus; and to the Harvard College Connection, the new electronic outreach that includes a new website, video, and social media.


Around 60 percent of Harvard students receive need-based aid, and families on average pay $12,000 annually, the college said.

Marlyn E. McGrath, director of admissions, said the Harvard College Connection was mentioned frequently by applicants as a factor in their decision to apply.

“While it will be several years before we have definitive information about the effect of this new electronic outreach, we are encouraged by what we have seen so far,” McGrath said in a statement.

Applicants will be notified of decisions on March 31.

Rebecca Fiore can be reached at rebecca.fiore@globe.com.