Undergraduate applications at Penn State University are up 4 percent over this time last year, school officials said, despite a sexual abuse scandal that has shaken the school to its foundation and led to speculation that many students would decide not to apply.

Joe Paterno (Jim Prisching/AP)

At a Town Hall this week that was held to give students a chance to talk about the scandal with school officials, the school’s interim president, Rodney Erickson, gave what the school must consider good news about applications, according to the student newspaper The Daily Collegian.

That translates into more than 40,000 applications received this year, with only eight withdrawn as a result of the scandal, he said. The school has received support from alumni and prospective students, who have expressed the opinion that one bad episode does not define the school, he said.

Undergraduate Admissions Anne Rohrbach also reported that the number of campus visits from high school students looking at the school are about the same as last year, the Collegian said.

The scandal has unfolded over the past several months, with former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky being formally charged with sexually abusing eight boys (and with more alleged victims coming out publicly since then).

When it became clear that some members of the Penn State community had known about the allegations against Sandusky, a number of administrators were forced out. That included the president, Graham Spanier, and legendary football coach Joe Paterno.

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