Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIII, No. 4
 
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
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PU Sees Record Number of Applications

Dilshanie Perera

Despite the economic downturn, Princeton University has received a record number of applications for undergraduate admission, approved increasing the amount of funds available for financial aid grants, and increased fees for undergraduates by 2.9 percent, which is the lowest percentage fee increase since 1966.

Candidates for the Class of 2013 sent in 21,869 applications. From this pool, the expected enrollment is 1,300 students, which would be the highest number of freshmen in the history of the University.

In 2000, the Board of Trustees approved expanding the size of the University’s undergraduate student body by 10 percent in order to “enhance the quality of the overall educational experience at Princeton and make more effective use of the University’s extraordinary resources.”

Three-fourths of applicants this year are applying for financial aid, and the trustees of the University recently approved a 13 percent increase in the undergraduate scholarship budget, thereby increasing financial aid from $92 million this year to over $104 million next year.

“In these unusual and difficult times, Princeton needs to take extraordinary measures in light of the hardships being faced by many tuition-paying families,” Provost Christopher Eisgruber said.

The expansion of the financial aid program, which is based on grants instead of loans so that students receiving aid can graduate debt-free, is linked to the increase in undergraduate fees. Though the percentage increase is the lowest in over four decades, the total charges for the next academic year will be $47,020, which includes tuition, room, and board.

Fifty-six percent of this year’s freshman class, or 700 students, received financial aid, with the average award being $33,700. The University noted that “these efforts have dramatically increased the economic diversity of Princeton’s student body.”

The increase in fees and financial aid are part of the University’s overall operating budget totaling $1.3 billion for the 2009-2010 school year. The budget was adopted last Saturday by the Board.

Funding for healthcare and sustainability initiatives will see an increase in the upcoming year, though various other programs will be scaled back. University Health Services will gain a Director of Inpatient Services, and two fellows in Counseling and Psychological Services.

Likewise, the Office of Sustainability will secure permanent funding for a director, and the Transportation Demand Management program will seek to reduce campus emissions, alleviate traffic, and provide alternate transit options for commuting faculty and staff.

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