September 14, 2022

University Enhances Financial Aid Program; Families with $100K Income or Less Go Free

By Donald Gilpin

Princeton University has announced that it will be making major enhancements to its financial aid program starting in the fall of 2023. The University, which was just rated first among national universities overall in the latest U.S. News and World Report rankings, has also topped the list for the lowest graduate indebtedness.

Most families whose annual income is less than $100,000 (up from the previous $65,000 annual income level) will pay nothing for tuition, room, and board. About 1,500 students, more than 25 percent of undergraduates, are expected to qualify for this level of aid.

As the University continues its push to attract talented students from a wide variety of backgrounds, many families with income above $100,000, in addition to the families paying nothing, will receive increased aid. A majority of the additional scholarship funding will support families earning less than $150,000.

“One of Princeton’s defining values is to ensure that talented students from all backgrounds can not only afford a Princeton education but can flourish on our campus and in the world beyond it,” said Princeton University President Christopher L. Eisgruber. “These improvements to our aid packages, made possible by the sustained generosity of our alumni and friends, will enhance the experiences of students during their time at Princeton and their choices and impact after they graduate.”

In 2001 Princeton was the first university in the country to eliminate loans, meeting students’ full financial needs with

grants that do not need to be repaid. This latest enhancement also stipulates that the $3,500 student contribution typically earned through summer savings and campus work will be eliminated, freeing students to study abroad and to pursue other curricular and co-curricular activities.

“We know that Princeton can achieve its research, teaching, and service goals only if it attracts the best talent from throughout society,” Eisgruber added.  Under this new program Princeton will have the highest family income limit for full financial assistance in the Ivy League.

Princeton’s Dean of the College Jill Dolan emphasized the University’s commitment to diversity, to support of students in need, and to expanding access.

“Princeton’s generous financial aid program has transformed the socioeconomic diversity of our undergraduate student population, allowing more students from across backgrounds to learn from one another’s life experiences,” said Dolan. “Princeton’s historic support for lower-income students has made our distinguished liberal arts education available to a broad range of students from around the world. We’re pleased to take these next steps to extend the reach and effect of Princeton’s financial aid.”

Princeton University has embarked this fall on a four-year expansion that will increase its undergraduate student body by 500 students, with two new residential colleges opening this fall and a third beginning construction in 2023. 

These initiatives have been largely supported by the University’s endowment, which  was last reported at a total of $37.7 billion, a 46.9 percent gain for the fiscal year that ended in June 2021.

Princeton University’s incoming first-year class this fall includes 17 percent first-generation college students, 61 percent who qualify for financial aid, and 21 percent lower income students eligible for Pell Grants. The average financial aid grant for the class is about $62,515 per year, which is greater than the price of tuition, with lower-income students receiving aid that covers full tuition, room, and board. 

“The changes to our already generous financial aid policies will be an important part of the work that the Office of Admission does to recruit students from various socioeconomic backgrounds, showing them that a Princeton education is an affordable education,” said Dean of Admission and Financial Aid Karen Richardson.