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Higher Education
Record-breaking number of students apply at Rice
News Release
Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Applications soar 30 percent

HOUSTON  – An unprecedented number of students applied for admission to Rice University in 2018, surprising even optimistic enrollment administrators who had already anticipated substantial growth from early indications of prospective student interest.

Just a year after the number of applications surpassed 20,000 for the first time in the university’s history, more than 27,000 students applied for admission to Rice in 2018.

The precise number of applicants – 27,068 last year compared to 20,826 the previous year – represents an increase of 30 percent.

“This is more than we imagined, more than we anticipated,” said Yvonne Romero da Silva, vice president for enrollment. “I am absolutely thrilled with the growing interest in Rice.”

The surge is striking not only for its diversity, but also its geographic distribution. Enrollment officials report substantial gains in the number of applications from African-American, Asian-American, Caucasian, Hispanic and multiracial students. In geographic terms, the percentage increase in students applying from other states across the U.S. was roughly the same as the growth in applicants from within the state of Texas, and the number of students applying from foreign countries also rose significantly.

“A portion of this year’s increase can be attributed to The Rice Investment, which has expanded opportunities for low- and middle- income families,” Romero da Silva said. “Making our financial aid policies more transparent and understandable helps families figure out what kind of financial support they will be eligible to receive from Rice.”  

The Rice Investment is a financial aid initiative the university announced last September that takes effect in fall 2019. It provides at least full-tuition scholarships to degree-seeking undergraduates with family incomes between $65,000 and $130,000 who are eligible for need-based financial aid and grants covering at least half tuition for those with family incomes between $130,000 and $200,000. Rice’s already generous financial aid package for low-income families grew under The Rice Investment, providing students with family incomes below $65,000 grant aid covering not only their full tuition, but also all of their mandatory fees and room and board.

“We are gratified that word about the quality of a Rice education, the special nature of the Rice community and the dedication of our faculty and staff continues to spread,” said Rice University President David Leebron.  “The announcement of our plan to increase both the generosity and clarity of our financial aid, which was already among the most generous, effectively conveyed that a Rice education is affordable for students from lower- and middle-income families.”

“Our financial aid has been generous for many, many years,” Romero da Silva said. “The Rice Investment expanded opportunities for many families – especially middle-income families -- who may have thought they couldn’t afford an education at such an extraordinary private university.”

A record-breaking number of applicants – a 39 percent increase over last year – also applied to Rice through its binding Early Decision program. Out of a pool of 2,628 Early Decision applicants, 408 students were admitted to the fall 2019 freshman class.

“We’re pleasantly surprised and pleased,” Romero da Silva said. “We had a record number of applicants last year, too, so it’s nice to see that we continue to have increased interest in Rice from students all across the country and all across the world. The more students, families and high school counselors know about the incredible faculty, community and resources Rice provides, the more I expect interest in Rice will continue to grow.”





Remembering Jim Guidry M3 Global Medical Missions


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