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Class of 2013 receives record aid

Madeline Buckley | Friday, August 21, 2009

With historic standardized test scores and high school performance, the Class of 2013 is breaking all kinds of University records – including one concerning financial aid.

“This was the strongest applicant pool we’ve ever had,” said Dan Saracino, assistant provost for Undergraduate Admissions. “But it was also financially needier because of the economy.”

Over 50 percent of the Class of 2013, which boasts an average SAT score of 1410 and an average ACT score of 32, requires University need-based financial aid – a percentage that is up from about 44 percent last year.

Saracino said the Class of 2013 not only had record-breaking test scores, but also took more Advanced Placement courses in high school and had the strongest high school transcripts.

“I think the classes are getting stronger because the story of the benefits of Notre Dame is getting out more and more,” he said. “It’s a fantastic place.”

But Saracino said the biggest benefit Notre Dame offers is probably financial aid options. He said the administration still commits to meeting the demonstrated need of every student, and the Office of Undergraduate Admissions is one of the few in the country that is still need-blind.

“If we didn’t have financial aid, the class profiles would not be getting stronger,” he said.

However, the administration did ask the office to admit about 50 more students than usual because of the recession, yielding more revenue from tuition and a slightly larger-than-average class size of about 2,060.

Of the 2,060 students, 12 percent were valedictorians or salutatorians of their high school and 18 students achieved a perfect ACT or SAT score.

The Class of 2013 is 55 percent male and 45 percent female and 24 percent are children of Notre Dame alumni.

The incoming freshman class is also one of the most diverse Notre Dame has seen with 23 percent of the class an ethnic minority, but Saracino said the University hopes to increase that percentage in future years.

“If we came up short in an area, it’s ethnic diversity,” he said. “We are disappointed in the area of diversity and international students.”

About three percent of students in the Class of 2013 are international, but Saracino said many other top universities reach about seven percent.

This year, the class contains students from 23 different countries. The largest group of international students comes from South Korea, followed by China.

Of the 23 percent of ethnic minority students, an estimated 10 percent are Hispanic, nine percent Asian, three percent African American and one percent Native American.

“The most disappointing is the number of African American students,” Saracino said. “We are now spending more time and energy in areas of the country where Notre Dame is not being heard and doing more outreach work.”

Along with academic achievements, the Class of 2013 was also active outside of the classroom:

u 11 percent were class or student body president

u 14 percent were an editor of a student publication

u 51 percent participated in music, art, drama or dance

u 85 percent were involved in community service

u 78 percent lettered in at least one varsity sport

u 35 percent captained an athletic team

u 6 percent were Eagle Scouts or achieved a Girl Scouts Gold Award

“This is the strongest class,” Saracino said. “It’s not just the SAT scores that are getting higher, but their high school records are getting stronger.”