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980 Accept Admission to Class of 1997; Financial Aid Keeps 100 Others Waiting

By Eva Moy
News Editor

Four weeks after the deadline for accepting or declining admission to MIT, 980 of the 2,120 students admitted to the Class of 1997 have decided to enroll here in the fall. Another 100 students are expected to accept offers of admission to MIT. Most of the delay in these students' decisions is due to financial considerations facing the incoming freshmen.

"The main thing affecting admissions at MIT is the combination of a continuing poor economy and a declining interest in engineering as a career," said Director of Admissions Michael C. Behnke. The decline in interest was reflected in the nationwide pre-Scholastic Aptitude Test questionnaires administered to the incoming Class of 1997, he said.

Although the percentage of admitted students eligible for aid remained about the same, there was "an incredible increase in the number of appeals" to the financial aid packages MIT offered, according to Stanley G. Hudson, director of student financial aid.

Hudson added that the average need of students was about 6 percent higher than last year. But this was on par with the targeted increase, based on inflation and MIT's budget deficit.

Hudson said that although MIT is "committed to meeting the full needs of the class, "it is still difficult for the Institute to compete against other top schools which may offer merit scholarships. "It's a heavier decision for students to make," he said.

Although the deadline for accepting or declining admission to MIT was May 1, 45 admitted students have been given extensions until their financial aid packages are settled, Behnke said. Extensions were given to students in the middle of financial aid appeals and to students who experienced delays in obtaining additional documentation.

Although these students' decisions will be coming in within the next few weeks, the financial aid office will not run its final data analysis until after Registration Day in the fall, Hudson added.

Class demographics within norm

Despite an incomplete class, the College Board test score statistics and demographics of the incoming class have already taken shape. The addition of another 100 students will not greatly affect the current calculations, according to Behnke.

The average Scholastic Aptitude Test Math score increased from last year's 738 out of 800 to 742 for the incoming class. The SAT Verbal average fell from 624 out of 800 to 617. The average of both Math Achievement test scores was 750 out of 800, down from 752 last year.

Among students whose high schools provided a class ranking, 32 percent ranked number one, down from 35 percent. Fully 88 percent of the Class of 1997 ranked within the top 5 percent.

The proportion of females fell slightly, from 37 percent to 36 percent. The class is broken by race as follows: one percent Native American, two percent Puerto Rican, five percent African-American, six percent Mexican-American, two percent of other Spanish descent, thirty percent Asian, and 45 percent white or no-entry. Also, eight percent will be international students, whose race is not reported.