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After receiving a record-breaking number of early-decision applications this fall, Penn admitted 24 percent of its early-decision applicant pool, a drop of 1.3 percentage points from last year's 25.3 percent acceptance rate.

The Office of Admissions welcomed 1,316 early-decision applicants to the Class of 2019 on Monday via online admissions decisions, which became available to the record-high 5,489 applicants at 5 p.m.

This year's early-decision round saw a 6.6 percent growth in applications following last year's record 5,149 early-decision applicants.

"The students who apply ED to Penn are remarkable in so many ways," Dean of Admissions Eric Furda said in a statement. "The admitted class reflects Penn's commitment to create a dynamic learning community for all of our students."

The accepted applicants comprise 54.4 percent of the target class of 2,420 students across all four undergraduate schools. The Office of Admissions also selected 54 percent of the entire class in the Early Decision round last admissions cycle.

Admitted students hail from 45 states and 46 countries, with roughly 40 percent identifying themselves as students of color, according to a press release from the Office of Admissions. 124 students are the first to attend college in their family — a 29 percent increase from last year.

Many were accepted through partnership programs as well. Penn matched with 45 students through QuestBridge College Match, a national program that helps increase undergraduate enrollment of high-achieving, low-income students at selective universities, and seven students became acquainted with Penn through the Knowledge Is Power Program, a nationwide network of free open-enrollment college-preparatory schools in underrepresented communities.

The Office of Admissions cited to Penn's all-grant, no-loan financial aid policy and continued recruitment efforts as contributing factors to the increase in Early Decision applicant pool.

“With over 10,000 undergraduates, Penn is the largest school in the country to offer this type of innovative aid program," University Director of Financial Aid Joel Carstens said in a statement. "Penn’s aid program sends this strong messages to families: achieving a quality education does not require student debt.”

Across other peer institutions, Harvard’s Early Action admission rate dropped from 21.3 percent to 16.5 percent. Dartmouth yielded 26 percent, dropping from 38.8 percent last year. Brown University’s acceptance rate increased by 1.1 percent to 20 percent. Both Dartmouth and Brown have Early Decision policy like Penn, wherein students, if accepted, are bound to attend the school. Stanford University also accepted 10.2 percent of its early applicant pool, a slight decrease from the year before.

Among Ivy League universities, Yale, Princeton, Columbia and Cornell universities have yet to release acceptance statistics.

“My colleagues and I see firsthand the enthusiasm and thoughtfulness these students bring to the college search process, and we take their commitment to this institution very seriously,” Furda said. “Their potential for future impact is tremendous, and we are excited to see them make Penn their own next fall.”

The regular decision application will be open until January 1, 2015.

Correction: A previous version of this article stated that there were 4,589 applicants this round of early decision, and that the applicant pool dropped by 1.3 percent. There were 5,489 applicants, and the applicant pool dropped by 1.3 percentage points. The DP regrets the error.

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