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In the wake of a 17 percent increase in applications, MIT’s admit rate plummeted to a record low 10 percent this year. Only 1,597 students out of 15,661 applicants were admitted to the class of 2013. Forty-eight percent are women and nearly a quarter are underrepresented minorities in an admitted class that spans all fifty states and sixty foreign countries.

Applicants were notified of MIT’s decision online at decisions.mit.edu at 1:59 p.m. “Admissions decisions will be available exclusively online,” wrote Associate Director of Admissions Matthew L. McGann ’00 in a blog post earlier this week. Thus rejection letters will no longer be mailed, but accepted students will still be mailed their admission packets.

MIT’s partnership with Questbridge, a non-profit organization that connects low-income students with top colleges, and deteriorating economic conditions were two of the factors leading to the increase in applications, said Dean of Admissions Stuart Schmill ’86.

“The biggest single factor,” the Questbridge partnership, netted MIT over 800 additional applicants, more than five percent of the applicant pool, and accounted for a third of the increase in applications, said Schmill.

Due to the worsening economy, students are applying to more schools in order to “compare costs,” said Schmill. He also said he thinks that awareness of MIT’s “very generous financial aid” is increasing in a year where financial aid is “important to more and more families.”

“Decisions were tougher than ever,” said Schmill, as the “additional applications were all very strong.”

The target size for the class of 2013 is 1,075, said Schmill. This target would be achieved if the yield, the percentage of students who accept MIT’s offer of admission, were at least 67.3 percent. If the yield remains at last year’s 66 percent, MIT may accept students from its waitlist for the fourth year in a row. MIT’s highest yield was the class of 2011’s 69 percent.