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Harvard sees application numbers drop following tumultuous year

Harvard University’s annual applications have fallen for the second year in a row after multiple controversies embroiled the school.

The school said this week it had 54,008 applicants for the class of 2028, accepting 1,937 students from the pool. Last year, the school had 56,937 applicants, meaning 2024 saw a drop of 5 percent.

Harvard had a record number of applications in 2021 — more than 57,000. It then set a new record in 2022 with 61,220 applicants.

“Beyond another strong applicant pool, we are delighted by the stunning array of talents and lived experiences the Class of 2028 will bring with them from throughout the United States and around the world,” said William Fitzsimmons, dean of admissions and financial aid. 

The drop comes at a difficult time for the school, as it has become a poster child for tensions on college campuses amid the Israel-Hamas war.

The negative light began when 30-led student groups signed onto a letter blaming Israel solely for the Oct. 7 Hamas attack that killed more than 800 Israeli civilians.

It continued after former President Claudine Gay testified at a congressional hearing on antisemitism in December, refusing to say if calls for the genocide of Jewish people would be considered harassment on campus.

Gay resigned in January after the hearing and accusations of plagiarism in her published works.

Currently, Harvard is tussling with House Republicans over their investigation into antisemitism on the school’s campus.

The House Education Committee escalated the investigation by sending Harvard a subpoena for information, saying the documents the school has provided so far have been insufficient.  

“While subpoenas were unwarranted, Harvard remains committed to cooperating with the Committee and will continue to provide additional materials, while protecting the legitimate privacy, safety and security concerns of our community,” a university spokesperson said at the time.

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