Record-setting group of new students arrives at Yale

Yale College this weekend welcomed 1,647 new first-year students to New Haven as members of the Class of 2027.
Long exposure photograph showing movement outside of a Yale campus gate, with WELCOME TO YALE CLASS OF 2027 on a banner

(Photos by Dan Renzetti)

Yale College this weekend welcomed 1,647 new first-year students to New Haven as members of the Class of 2027. They will be joined by 17 new transfer students and 21 new adult students matriculating through the Eli Whitney Students Program.

Among the new students are graduates of more than 1,200 high schools, 10 veterans of the U.S. military, and 22 students who were most recently enrolled at a community college.

The unusually large first-year class, which includes nearly 90 more students than last year’s, was the product of a surprisingly high “yield” on admitted students, said Jeremiah Quinlan, dean of undergraduate admissions and financial aid. Yield refers to the percentage of admitted students who accept Yale’s offer of admission. The yield rate for the Class of 2027 was an historically high 72%.

Thousands of members of the Yale community, including alumni, current students, faculty, and staff, played a role in enrolling this incredible class,” said Quinlan. “From the largest-ever Bulldog Days, to virtual meetups, and dozens of small gatherings in cities around the world, our admitted students had countless opportunities to experience what makes Yale truly special: its people.”

Yale College Dean Pericles Lewis (right) lends a hand.
Yale College Dean Pericles Lewis (right) lends a hand.

Added Dean of Yale College Pericles Lewis: “It is enormously rewarding to see so many talented students recognize Yale’s distinctive strengths in a wide range of academic disciplines, its supportive residential college system, and its culture of collaboration.”

The large first-year class has also set several new records for diversity. More than 360 first-year students (22%) are eligible for a Federal Pell Grant for lower-income students and 21% will be part of the first generation in their families to graduate from a four-year college. A large majority (59%) are U.S. citizens or permanent residents who self-identify as a member of a minority racial or ethnic group, with record high representation of African American, Asian American, and Hispanic/Latino students.

A decade of diversifying

In all these categories, Yale College has seen dramatic increases over the past decade. Among the first-year class that matriculated in fall 2013, fewer than 12% qualified for Pell Grants, fewer than 12% were first-generation college students, and 36% identified as a member of a minority racial or ethnic group. The opening of Pauli Murray and Benjamin Franklin Colleges in 2017 also facilitated an increase in Yale’s undergraduate enrollment by approximately 20%, university leaders say. The combined increases in representation and class size mean that the number of Pell-eligible first-year students this fall is 130% higher than it was a decade ago; the number of first-generation first-year students is nearly 115% higher; and the number of students of color in the first-year class has increased by 96%.

Since becoming dean 10 years ago, increasing the diversity of the undergraduate student body along all dimensions has been one of my top priorities,” said Quinlan, Yale College Class of 2003. “I am proud that Yale College now educates more exceptionally promising students from a wider collection of backgrounds than ever before. The opportunity to study at Yale changed my life forever. Sharing that opportunity with talented students with great potential to contribute to Yale and benefit from its extraordinary resources is a joy.”

In May, President Peter Salovey and Dean Lewis announced Quinlan’s reappointment as dean of admissions and financial aid, citing his “historic” first two terms. In June, Quinlan and Lewis reiterated their commitment to enrolling promising students of all backgrounds and strengthening their support for Yale’s diverse community. And writing to the Yale community in the Yale Daily News last month, Quinlan encouraged current students to share their experiences of Yale’s diverse and supportive community with promising high school students “whose future presence on our campus will enhance Yale’s strength and excellence.”

A Yale College student takes a first look at her new home.
A Yale College student takes a first look at her new home.

Exceptional talent, myriad backgrounds

The new students were selected from the largest pool of applicants in Yale College history, with more than 52,000 prospective first-year students applying. The newest Yalies arrive in New Haven from 53 U.S. states and territories, and 68 countries, including 14 on the African continent. For the first time, a majority (53%) of the new students reported that they speak a language other than English as their first language or as the language in their home.

As applicants, students in the first-year class were invited to list up to three Yale majors that fit their academic interests. Collectively, they expressed interest in pursuing 83 Yale College majors. Roughly a quarter (23%) of the students listed an arts & humanities major as their first interest. A similar proportion (29%) chose a social science major. Just under half of the class listed a STEM major; 32% opted for physical sciences or engineering; and 17% selected one of five life science majors. More than 98% of incoming students listed multiple majors of interest, and 81% selected majors spanning two or more academic categories.

A complete profile of the class from the Office of Undergraduate Admissions is available at (PDF).

Benefiting from an expanded commitment to affordability

A majority of the new students are receiving a Yale need-based financial aid award with an average scholarship of $71,663. Students from families with annual incomes below $75,000 and typical assets qualify for a financial aid award with a “zero parent share.” These awards cover the full cost of tuition, housing, the meal plan, travel, hospitalization insurance, and a $2,000 startup grant with scholarship funds. More than 360 new first-year students (22%) qualified for one of these awards, also a record high.  

The move continues into Bingham Hall on Old Campus.
The move continues into Bingham Hall on Old Campus.

The mission of the Office of Undergraduate Financial Aid is to make a Yale College education affordable for everyone,” said Alex Muro, who served as acting director of undergraduate financial aid beginning in February. “Yale’s generous aid policies, combined with the thoughtful and individualized attention that financial aid staff gave to students and their families this spring, made it possible for hundreds of newly admitted students to say yes to Yale.”

Joining the new Yalies this week is a new leader at the Office of Undergraduate Financial Aid. Kari DiFonzo, who most recently served as director of student financial services at Wellesley College, was named director of undergraduate Financial Aid earlier this summer. Her first day on the job is Aug. 22.   

Last spring Yale College was recognized as a national leader in increasing its lower-income student population by the American Talent Initiative, a national alliance of colleges and universities. Recent enhancements to Yale’s need-based financial aid program have reduced costs for students and families and attracted more students from lower-income and middle-income families. More than 86% of Yale students graduate with no loan debt.

Pierson Head of College Crystal Feimster, welcomes a new student.
Pierson Head of College Crystal Feimster welcomes a new student.

Newest Yalies start Camp Yale

On Sunday, new students were greeted by first-year counselors and their residential college communities as they arrived in New Haven. Later this week, each student will join one of nine distinctive Camp Yale Programs (CYPs), which provide an early sense of belonging to incoming students. Previously known as pre-orientation programs, each CYP will form a distinct community that connects incoming students to their new classmates and upper-level students.

These programs include BUILD at the CEID (Yale Center for Engineering Innovation & Design); Camp Yale Arts at the Yale University Art Gallery and Center for Collaborative Arts and Media; Cultural Connections (CC); FOCUS on New Haven; First-Year Outdoor Orientation Trips (FOOT); Harvest; LAUNCH; Orientation for International Students (OIS); and Yale Reserved, a new program designed for students who enjoy moments of solitude, low-key events, and time for reflection.

Last year, Yale eliminated all costs associated with these pre-orientation programs.

Next Saturday, all Yale College students will arrive back on campus in time for the fourth annual Bulldog Bash, a welcome event for all new and returning students held on Old Campus. Undergraduate classes begin Wednesday, Aug. 30.  


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