Yale accepted 19.7 percent of early action applicants for the Class of 2011, an increase of two percent from last year, Dean of Admissions Jeff Brenzel announced Wednesday.

709 students were selected from 3,594 early applicants this year, while 61 percent of applicants were deferred and 18 percent were rejected. Although the acceptance rate increased this year, the number of students accepted into the class actually decreased.

Last year, 724 early applicants out of 4,084 were accepted for the Class of 2010, for an acceptance rate of 17.7 percent – the lowest in the Ivy League.

Of the Ivies that have announced their early admissions statistics for this year, Yale’s acceptance rate is again the lowest.

Harvard University admitted 21.5 percent of its early action pool, while Princeton University accepted 26 percent through its early decision program. The University of Pennsylvania accepted 29 percent of its early applicant pool this year, Dean of Admissions Lee Stetson said.

Brenzel said the acceptance rate rose slightly this year because of the strength of the applicant pool. In addition, a higher proportion of students were deferred this fall for consideration along with regular decision applicants in the spring, he said.

“We did this in part because the applicant pool has strengthened significantly over the past few years,” Brenzel said. “We wanted to take particular care that competitive applicants received another review in the context of the total admissions pool.”

This was the final year that Harvard and Princeton offered the option of applying early, which allows students to receive their admissions decisions by mid-December. Starting with the Class of 2012, students will only be able to apply through regular decision and will hear whether or not they were accepted in the spring. Representatives of Harvard and Princeton have stated that the elimination of early admissions will reduce the pressure on high school students and will make the process more fair to applicants from low-income households, who are less likely to apply early.

Yale is currently reviewing its single-choice early action program and has not yet disclosed whether early admissions will continue beyond this year, but an announcement is expected by early January.

Brenzel said approximately 88 percent of students admitted early have chosen Yale in the four years the school has offered early action. The admissions office expects a similar percentage to matriculate at Yale this year, he said.

Students who apply to Yale by the Jan. 1 regular decision deadline or whose early applications were deferred will be notified of their admissions outcomes by the beginning of April.