Officials at the Ivy League school announced Tuesday that the number of applications is 8 percent higher than the 39,500 received last year, when 5 percent of applicants were admitted.
Harvard says more students have been encouraged to apply by financial aid policies that charge students based on family income.
Dean of Admissions William Fitzsimmons says students "are excited to learn that Harvard is open to outstanding students from all economic backgrounds."
The university drew more applications from minorities this year, including a 19 percent increase from African-Americans and 15 percent increase from Asian-Americans.
Applications from students interested in computer science grew 20 percent, more than any other field.
Slightly more than half the applicants were women.
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