Admissions by numbers: Regular decision admissions decreases in selectivity


Lehigh finalized its regular decision admissions on March 27, concluding the admissions process for the incoming class of 2023.

The admissions office received a total of 15,647 applications — including both rounds of early decision and regular decision — and admitted 3,716 students, equating to an overall acceptance rate of 24 percent.

Director of Admissions Bruce Bunnick said the expected incoming class size for next year is 1,425 students, up from 1,275 students in the class of 2022.

“We are now in the first year of growth in the Path to Prominence where we are expected to net 150 more students in the class,” Bunnick said. “We knew that the admit rate would likely go up, but not to an extent that we feel as if we lost the competitive edge.”

Last year, out of the 15,623 students who applied, 3,418 were admitted, resulting in an acceptance rate of 22 percent. The class of 2023 is the first year that admissions has been less selective than the previous year since 2014 for the class of 2018.

The incoming class, Bunnick said, will be more diverse than past years in terms of race, ethnicity, first generation status and socioeconomic status.

“From the pool from which we choose from, we had a very broad representation, not only domestically, but also internationally,” he said. “The total number of international applications decreased slightly, but not so much that it caused any concerns.”

From a financial aid perspective, this fall’s incoming class will be on par with how past years looked regarding average aid package and average need, said Jennifer Mertz, the director of the Office of Financial Aid.

“It’s tricky because we go out with a lot more money than what we expect to actually have,” she said. “We are anticipating a similar look in terms of need level from students, but it is hard to tell until we get closer to May 1 in terms of what it’s actually going to look like, and how much money we’ve actually spent.”

Part of Lehigh’s GO Campaign will also be used to help student financial aid, but it is too soon for it to make an impact on aid just yet.

Mertz said Lehigh’s financial aid packages are in good standing in comparison to other schools. She said Lehigh uses different methodologies when determining financial need. 

Lehigh relies on both institutional — CSS Profile — along with the federal — Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA — methodology of financial aid. Some schools of similar size only choose to use FAFSA and will not meet 100 percent of need. 

“Some schools say, ‘if your income is less than a certain amount, then you can pay “x” amount,’ but that’s not really need analysis,” Mertz said. “It’s more just determining an amount based on your family income.”

Mertz said she thinks Lehigh offers fair and comparative financial aid packages in relation to its peer institutions.

Stefanie Burke, the assistant dean and director of First-Year Experience, said first-year programming will see some changes compared to last year’s.

One change being made this year, Burke said, is a new program for orientation called NavigateLU, which will replace the evoLUtion seminar that had been offered in previous years.

“All of our programming and services are assessed, and we make changes every year to our programs,” Burke said. “We have formal assessments, led focus groups with students, faculty and staff, and interviewed both first-year and upper-class students to understand the impact of our programs. We have taken the university and enrollment changes into consideration as we reviewed this year and are thinking strategically about our programs and services with the changes in enrollment and the Path to Prominence.”

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  1. Packer Spectre on

    Observe what happens to admissions stats as the perceived value of LU’s $65k+ year degree degrades in lock step as USN&WR slides LU down below 60th nationally. Watch the quality of education and student body at LU fall as quickly as its tuition price rises – the growing disconnect between value and price will become obvious to famalies who pay full price.

    This is a steep and slippery slope LU is stumbling on. The feedback loop in this phenomenon is dramatic and fast. LU is likely to be 80th place in 3 years.

    Clearly there are fewer dumb rich than the admin and admissions hoped for when diving it’s strategies years ago.

    • Embarrassed to Be Associated on

      Shameful! I graduated less than 15 years ago when the school was neatly in the top tier of the USN&WR.

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