University administrators expected the Class of 2014’s yield to be higher than that of previous years, but a lack of funds available for financial aid packages caused the rate to remain at last year’s 43 percent.
Of the 3,643 students accepted to Georgetown for this admissions cycle, 1,580 enrolled this fall, according to Andy Pino, director of media relations.
A significantly higher number of accepted students submitted enrollment deposits in May than the number of students that ended up matriculating this fall, said Dean of Undergraduate Admissions Charles Deacon.
“We have had more students than normal either defer for a year or withdraw entirely even after paying their deposit on May 1,” Deacon said in an email. “While financial aid has always been the No. 1 reason cited by people who do, it seems more than normal this year.”
This year saw an increase in appeals for more financial aid than initially granted, according to Patricia McWade, dean of the Office of Student Financial Services. Deacon attributes this increase to both Georgetown’s high tuition and the overall economic climate.
“It `feels’ like cost and financial aid are more of an issue now and this is no surprise. Families have lost access to an immense amount of liquidity over the last two years, especially in
the decline of home equity, which they frequently used to pay for college, but our costs have not come down, so there is a growing gap in the ability of families to pay and our overall cost,” Deacon said. Fifty-five percent of undergraduates are receiving financial aid this year, according to university spokeswoman Julie Bataille. She stressed that the university is striving to meet all financial needs of undergraduates.
“Given the economic climate, part of our overall strategy is to make sure we can continue to meet full financial need for our undergraduates,” Bataille said in an email. “We continue to plan for increased student financial aid as we monitor the economic climate and plan for our operating budget.”
While Georgetown does not have the endowment resources of peer institutions to cover financial aid concerns, the university plans to cover the necessary costs with increased fundraising, University President John J. DeGioia said in a meeting with student press on Wednesday.
DeGioia stressed the importance of the 1789 Scholarship Imperative, which has garnered positive reception and donations from alumni.
“More money has been donated in the last two years than ever before,” DeGioia said. “We are spending $70 million on our financial aid program this year.”
Other universities are also seeing an increase in financial aid requests. The George Washington University’s Board of Trustees increased its financial aid pool to $148 million this February, according to the GW Hatchet.
Daniel Small, executive director of the office of financial assistance, said that despite the increase in requests, they have not seen an increase in appeals.
“People are more proactive,” Small said to the Hatchet. “They knew what to do ahead of time.”