231st Class Admitted, Largest Aid Budget Ever in Need-Blind’s Debut

Phillips Academy’s 231st admitted class will swarm campus today for the first day of spring visits. The newly admitted students are the first to be accepted under Andover’s landmark need-blind policy that was announced in November. A record 2,308 students submitted completed applications by the deadline, and 450 students, or 19 percent, received acceptance letters from the Admissions Office on March 10. A total of $4,861,000 has been pledged to help pay tuition for 176 admitted students. A total of $14,557,000 will be spent on financial aid for the entire student body. Jane Fried, Dean of Admissions, wrote in an email that the budget for financial aid has increased this past year by 12.3 percent, but this increase also reflects the general increase in financial aid since the Board of Trustees decided to “dedicate more resources to financial aid” in the 2005 fiscal year. Between the 2005 and 2008 fiscal years, the percentage of students on financial aid has grown to 41 percent from 36.5 percent. Currently, 11 percent of the student body receives full scholarship. Andover has broadened its recruiting efforts recently as part of the 2004 Strategic Plan and in anticipation of a decline in the number of high school-age students expected to begin in 2006. The Admissions Office has tried to boost recruitment in areas where the number of high school-age students has been expected to increase by increasing its total travel days by 42 percent since 2003. Admissions officers visited 70 cities around the world this year and hosted 68 Evening With Andover sessions, far outpacing peer schools that, according to Fried, only hold 10 to 15 such sessions each year. Fried wrote, “PA students are very supportive of the diversity of talents, backgrounds and interests of their fellow students. For example, we heard the need to preserve the balance between well-rounded students and specialized student profiles. Both are important to the sense of community on campus.” She continued, “The Admissions counselors make a special effort in the overall admitted pool and within admitted classes to have a healthy balance of these profiles. We look for talent and we look for ‘glue.’” Fried said that students at Phillips Academy are interested in greater geographic and ethnic diversity, which the Admissions Office has been able to establish. The number of admitted students from Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Utah and Wyoming increased to 19 from between 2004 and 2008. The number of admitted students from Arizona, Nevada and New Mexico increased from 1 to 10 within the same time period. 67 students of color were admitted this year, compared to the 55 who were admitted in 2004. The Composition of the Student Body Committee will meet again later this spring to work on a full report with the Admissions Office. Fried said that “these changes did not happen overnight. They are a result of Admissions recruitment and modest increases in applications and admits since 2004.” “The key to successful admissions is to work on recruitment and to build strong pools of candidates from which to choose,” she continued. This year also marks the first time that Phillips Academy has admitted Davis Scholars, students from all over the world chosen for their ambition and talent regardless of their socioeconomic status and endowed with scholarships from the Davis family to attend U.S. boarding schools. The Admission Office admitted five domestic and five international Davis Scholars, who were awarded $20,000 in financial aid. The Spring Visits program, starting today, will run until Wednesday, April 9. According to Fried, approximately 75 percent of admitted students attend a spring visit. Last year 81 percent of admitted students matriculated, she said. “We greatly appreciate the warm welcome this community gives to the visiting families during the spring visiting program. The faculty and students are the heart and soul of this institution and are the reason many kids choose Andover,” wrote Fried. Apart from the 450 admitted students, the Admissions Office placed about 25 boys and 25 girls on the waiting list for both the Junior and Lower class. Fried wrote that generally 10 to 15 students will be moved off the wait list depending on various factors, including class size and the number of beds. By April 10, the newly admitted students must respond with their decision to either accept or reject their admission to Phillips Academy.