Two Ivy League schools see applications plunge over scandal, shortfall in graduates

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 11 February, 2014, 1:42pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 11 February, 2014, 1:42pm

Two US Ivy League universities saw application numbers drop this semester, with the reasons ranging from scandal to demographic changes, to a decline in the number of high school graduates in recent years.

Dartmouth saw a steep drop in applications, which fell to 14 per cent at 19,235 – the biggest decline in 21 years, according to a university spokesman cited by Bloomberg.

The figures come after a year in which Dartmouth, based in New Hampshire, sought to clean up its image following reports of fraternity hazing, complaints about the failure to address sexual harassment, and allegations of gender-based discrimination on campus. Faculty have also protested the university’s Greek fraternity system, which they say promoted violence and binge drinking.

Dartmouth spokesman Tommy Bruce said the university was taking the decline in applications “seriously” and were “investigating the causes”, the report said.

The university has also decided to stop crediting high-school Advanced Placement courses – a move that could also impact future admissions as many applicants take AP courses.

Meanwhile, applications to Harvard University fell by 2.1 per cent, from 35,023 last year to just 34,295 this year.

The university attributed the decrease to the “contraction in the number of US high school graduates” over the past two years.

The number of US high school graduates began to fall with the Class of 2012, according to a report last year by the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education, Bloomberg reported.

Other Ivy League schools, however, such as Princeton, Yale and Brown universities and the University of Pennsylvania, saw upticks in applications. Columbia and Cornell universities have yet to release data.