Northwestern University officials say the school has admitted only 18 percent of the nearly 31,000 high school seniors who applied for admission next fall’s freshman class.

That’s a drop from 23 percent of  applicants admitted last year when the pool of applicants was 12 percent smaller.

The total number of applications to Northwestern has nearly doubled since 2005, mirroring a trend that’s seen applications rise, and acceptance rates fall, at many universities.

The Daily Northwestern reports that acceptance rates fell to 16 percent at the University of Chicago, 15 percent at Washington University in St. Louis and 13 percent at Duke University.

Over 70 percent of the applicants who reported their class rank were in the top 10 percent of their high school class.

Nearly 200 students were admitted to the Good Neighbor, Great University program, and about one half of them qualified for the scholarship. The program provides significantly increased financial aid to incoming freshmen from public or private high schools in Evanston and Chicago.

Enabling students to have ample time for their studies, the scholarship money eliminates the need for so-called “self-help” wages from work-study and summer jobs and for student loans.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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