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The class of 583 students is one of the largest and best ever to enter Lafayette.

Lafayette's Class of 2003, with 583 members is one of the largest and most academically outstanding classes Lafayette has ever admitted.

The number of students exceeds the admissions office's goal of 540 for the class, and the academic quality is improved over last year, continuing a positive multi-year trend. The mean SAT score is 1250, an improvement of 27 points over last year. The proportion of incoming students ranking in the top 10 percent of their high school class is 51 percent, up from 41 percent last year. It's the third consecutive year of improvements for Lafayette in both areas. Since 1996 the College has improved the mean SAT score by 34 points and upped the ratio of students in the top 10 percent by a factor of more than one-third (from 37 percent).

Lafayette attracted this top-quality class while being more selective in admissions for the third straight year. Lafayette admitted just 48.2 percent of its 4,429 applicants, down sharply from last year's acceptance rate of 54.0 percent. The proportion of admitted students enrolling, or “yield,” is 27.3 percent, up from 24.7 percent last year. Since 1996, Lafayette has improved its acceptance rate by almost one-quarter (from 63.4 percent), and its yield by more than one-third (from 20.3 percent).

There are U.S. 48 minority students in the class, including 21 African Americans. Overall, students of color, including those from foreign countries, make up more than 11 percent of the class.

More than 100 of the class's most outstanding members will benefit from special educational opportunities and more than $1 million in scholarships under the expanded and enhanced Lafayette Scholars program. These include 77 students named Marquis Scholars and 25 students selected to receive Trustee Scholarships.

Marquis Scholars receive an annual minimum award of $12,500 (totaling $50,000 over four years) or a grant in the full amount of their demonstrated need if the need is more than $12,500. They also receive other benefits, including a College-funded, three-week, study-abroad course during January's interim session, cultural activities in major U.S. and Canadian cities and on campus, and mentoring programs with Lafayette faculty.

Trustee Scholarship recipients get an annual minimum award of $7,500 (totaling $30,000 over four years) or a grant covering their full need if the need exceeds $7,500.

The Marquis Scholars program and Trustee Scholars program make up just one portion of the financial aid that Lafayette provides each year. Students also benefit from more than 350 endowed scholarships funded by alumni and other supporters, a number that is growing rapidly because of the $143 million Lafayette Leadership Campaign, publicly announced on October 24, 1997, and scheduled to run through June 30, 2001. The largest single goal of the campaign, which is the most ambitious fundraising effort Lafayette has ever undertaken, is to add $30 million to the College's endowment for financial aid.

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