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Notre Dame sees increases in applications, fundraising with Irish on top

NOTRE DAME, Ind. -- It seems like high school hopefuls across the country all want to get in on Notre Dame's national championship run.

University officials say that early action applications are up 10 percent and they only expect the applications it received to grow.

ABC57 talked with the university, as well as some alumni, about the extra attention that comes with the football team's climb to the top.

Regular admissions deadline was this last Monday. So those hard statistics and averages are not in yet, but officials have no doubt that this will be one of the most competitive freshman classes yet.

It's one of toughest schools in the country. Just last year only 12 percent of the nearly 17,000 hopefuls received a coveted acceptance letter to Notre Dame and this year it could get even tougher.

"The one thing we have noticed is that the quality of the early action applicants was substantially higher," said university spokesperson Dennis Brown Thursday.

Officials believe the national attention on the football field is sure to bring the best and the brightest into the classrooms in the fall of 2013. 

"Everybody is into it, the whole town is into it, it's just been great," said Notre Dame Alum Bill Mcdoungh. "This year has kind of proved that you can be a good student and a good football player."

That excitement has not only boosted Notre Dame merchandise sales, but also fundraising. 

"We have seen not necessarily an increase in dollars, but in the donors and the number of donors," said Brown.

One alum even made a generous donation directly to students. His $375,000 check helped cut each student's BCS ticket price in half.

"His contribution made it possible for students, all students who won ticket in the lottery, to just pay $150," said Brown.

Graduates like Mcdoungh say Notre Dame alumni are always faithful to their alma mater and that this season just reminds alumni how great it is to be Irish.

"Notre Dame has a great following, a great alumni base. I mean, we are always supporting the football team in whatever is going on at Notre Dame, but this year it's just been exciting," said Mcdoungh.

Believe it or not, Notre Dame's most successful fundraising year wasn't this year, but rather a few years ago when the team went 3-9.

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