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Lafayette College has recruited one of its academically strongest incoming classes ever while being more selective in admissions for the fourth consecutive year.

Because of its admissions quality and selectivity Lafayette is classified among America’s most academically competitive colleges by Barron’s, publishers of the well-known guidebooks Profiles of American Colleges and Guide to the Most Competitive Colleges. Only 58 of more than 1,650 four-year U.S. colleges and universities profiled in the 2000 edition of Profiles of American Colleges are rated most competitive.

The Class of 2004, with 560 students, is one of the most academically outstanding classes Lafayette has ever enrolled. The College received a record 5,038 applications, an increase of 14 percent over last year and a 16 percent increase over the average number of applications during the previous 5 years.

The proportion of students ranking in the top 10 percent of their high-school class is a record 55 percent, up from 51 percent last year. This is the fourth consecutive year of improvement in this area, during which Lafayette has increased the ratio of students in the top 10 percent by a factor of 49 percent. At the same time, there has been a net gain of 26 points in the mean SAT score, which is 1242 for the new class.

Lafayette attracted the outstanding class while being more selective in admissions for the fourth straight year, offering admission to only 2,028 applicants. The acceptance rate of 40 percent was down sharply from last year’s rate of 48 percent, and the proportion of admitted students enrolling, or yield, of 27.6 percent is the best in more than a decade.

Lafayette has lowered its acceptance rate by a factor of 37 percent and upped the yield by a factor of 36 percent in the last four years.

The new class is split virtually evenly between women (283) and men (277). There are 43 minority students from the United States, including 23 African Americans. Students of color, including those from foreign countries, make up more than 12 percent of the class. International students come from 29 countries of citizenship.

Look at the new Class of 2004, look at the recently graduated Class of 2000, look in campus classrooms and labs and it’s clear to see that academic scholarships awarded through the Lafayette Scholars program are helping Lafayette achieve its goal of being the college of choice for the best and brightest applicants.

Under the Lafayette Scholars program, 93 of the most outstanding members of the new class – more than 16 percent — are benefiting from special educational opportunities and more than $1 million in academic scholarships. These include 59 students named Marquis Scholars and 34 students selected to receive Trustee Scholarships.

Marquis Scholars receive an annual minimum scholarship 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. Awards this year range up to $27,650. They also receive distinctive educational benefits, including a College-funded, three-week course abroad during interim session between regular semesters. In January 2001 students will take courses in the Bahamas; Berlin, Prague, and Munich; Ireland; Kenya and Tanzania; London; South America (Brazil, the River Plate, and Peru); and Turkey. Marquis Scholars also have special opportunities to participate in cultural activities in major U.S. and Canadian cities and on campus and in mentoring programs with Lafayette faculty.

The Marquis Scholars program was established in 1990 and enhanced by the addition of non-need, merit-based scholarships of at least $10,000 effective with the Class of 2000. The minimum award was increased to $12,500 effective with the Class of 2003.

Trustee Scholarship recipients are awarded an annual minimum scholarship of $7,500 each year ($30,000 over four years) or a grant in the full amount of their need if the need is more than $7,500. Trustee Scholarship awards range up to $26,800 this year. Trustee Scholarships were instituted with the Class of 2003.

Marquis Scholars were among the most distinguished graduates in the Class of 2000. Of the 43 Marquis Scholars receiving degrees at Lafayette’s 165th commencement in May, 30 earned Latin honors with grade point averages of 3.50 or above, including 16 graduating summa cum laude (3.80 or higher). A dozen earned departmental honors for outstanding performance in writing a senior thesis or conducting senior research. Fourteen were members of Phi Beta Kappa, 10 were in Tau Beta Pi, the national engineering honor society, and 5 were members of Sigma Xi, the international honor society for scientific and engineering research. Twenty-seven of them won or shared more than 60 major annual Lafayette prizes for academic achievement and leadership.

Marquis Scholars’ academic achievements were also recognized nationally. Erin Muller, a biochemistry major from Riverton, Conn., who had the highest cumulative average in the class, was named by USA Today to its 2000 All-USA College Academic Team in February, recognizing her as one of the top 100 college students in the nation. Ian Rippke, an electrical and computer engineering major from East Petersburg, Pa., was awarded a prestigious three-year National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship to pursue a doctorate.

A four-year varsity fencing letterwinner, Rippke was one of seven Marquis Scholars in the Class of ’00 who not only distinguished themselves academically but were accomplished athletes, winning a total of 22 letters for their participation in intercollegiate sports.

The Marquis Scholars program and Trustee Scholarship program make up just one portion of the financial aid that Lafayette provides each year. Another 250 members of ’04 — more than 44 percent of the class — are receiving need-based grants that average $16,576 and range up to more than $30,000.

Students benefit from more than 350 endowed scholarships funded by alumni and other supporters, a number that has grown rapidly during the $165 million Lafayette Leadership Campaign. Securing $30 million in new endowment for financial aid, both merit-based academic scholarships and need-based aid, is the largest single goal of the six-year campaign, which is scheduled to run through June 30, 2001. It’s the largest fundraising effort in Lafayette’s history and one of the most ambitious campaigns ever undertaken by an undergraduate institution of Lafayette’s size.

More than 95 percent of students offered admission to the Class of 2004 who demonstrated need were offered financial aid awards in the amount of their need. This year the financial aid office will administer more than $29 million in grants, scholarships, loans, and campus employment aid. This includes more than $18 million in outright, College-funded grants and scholarships.

Also, in this, the 17th year of Lafayette’s distinctive Higher Education Loans to Parents (HELP) program, the College will pay out more than $750,000 in interest on behalf of families with HELP loans. Loans of up to $7,500 per year are available to families that demonstrate need or whose calculated ability to pay does not exceed Lafayette’s total cost by more than $5,000. Lafayette pays all interest, and no repayment toward principal is required while the student is in school. Repayment begins when the student graduates, with 10 years to repay. About 30 percent of all Lafayette families use the program sometime during a student’s four years on campus.

Categorized in: Academic News