Responding to the Media

Claremont, Calif. — Jan. 18, 2024 —Earlier this month, a Los Angeles Times article about Early Decision (ED) admissions in higher education reported inaccurately on Pitzer’s ED admissions, erroneously claiming that seventy-nine percent of Pitzer’s admitted students came through ED in 2020. I write to explain this error and provide the correct information, as well as some additional context on Pitzer’s use of early-decisions admissions.

The Times piece relied on information from a fall 2022 report from Education Reform Now that uses data from the Common Data Set. That report measures ED admits as a share of first-year student enrollments, which is an unorthodox measure because it compares apples (admits) to oranges (enrollments). Because of deferrals and other reasons, not every student admitted via ED ends up enrolling at Pitzer the following academic year. This occurs every year but had an especially large impact on the fall 2020 entering class because ninety-five admitted students (both ED and RD) deferred that year, so the ratio of admits to enrollments was unusually high. That ratio does not speak directly to the College’s relative reliance on ED.

To capture the share of each class made up of students admitted via early decision (the best measure of Pitzer’s reliance on ED), we must look at actual enrollment numbers. The share of enrolled first-year students who came to Pitzer via ED has largely hovered around fifty percent in recent years, in a similar range as most our peer institutions. In 2020 specifically (2019-20 admissions cycle), that figure was 50.7 percent. The table below provides recent trends in the number and percentage of students admitted and enrolled via ED, by admissions cycle. The third column measures ED admits as a percentage of total (ED+RD) admits, and the fifth column measures the percentage of the enrolled class who came by ED.

ED Admits to Total AdmitsED Enrolled to Total Enrolled
Admissions Cycle YearED1+2ED Total % ED1+2ED Total %
2016-1712334.4% 10740.8%
2017-1813533.2% 12044.0%
2018-1916237.2% 14652.9%
2019-2017439.9% 11450.7%
2020-2116651.7% 14741.2%[1]
2021-2216347.2% 15249.2%
2022-2314638.5% 13549.1%

A useful point to emerge from these discussions is that applicants who apply via ED are more likely to be well-resourced students from private schools and upper-middle-class backgrounds. These students tend to benefit from strong college counseling and the ability to finalize decisions early, giving them a competitive edge in a smaller applicant pool. As a tuition-dependent institution concerned about access and equity, we pay close attention to these trends and issues.

The LA Times article also offers some useful recommendations for colleges employing ED programs. One key suggestion, particularly relevant to Pitzer, is to ensure that colleges meet the full demonstrated financial need of students. Pitzer not only meets full need but is transparent about releasing students from the ED agreement if their financial aid offer proves insufficient.

I hope this analysis is useful. As always, my colleagues and I welcome questions and dialogue around important admission and financial aid issues that impact the College and our students.

Yvonne Berumen ‘97
Vice President of Admission and Financial Aid
Pitzer College | Office of Admission

[1] This year’s number is deflated due to the number of ED admits from the prior year’s cycle who deferred their enrollment to this year.

About Pitzer College

Pitzer College is a nationally top-ranked undergraduate liberal arts and sciences institution. A member of The Claremont Colleges, Pitzer offers a distinctive approach to a liberal arts education by linking intellectual inquiry with interdisciplinary studies, cultural immersion, social responsibility, and community involvement. For more information, please visit

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