You are currently viewing Princeton will pay tuition and other fees for families earning less than $100,000

Princeton will pay tuition and other fees for families earning less than $100,000

For six years, Princeton University boasted that the average family earning less than $65,000 a year pays nothing for an undergraduate’s tuition, room and board. Financial aid covers the entire bill.

Today, the Ivy League school, one of the wealthiest and most exclusive universities in the world, extends that commitment to include most families earning up to $100,000. The comprehensive new benchmark, announced Thursday, will go into effect in the fall of 2023. More than a quarter of Princeton undergraduates are expected to qualify. The expansion of aid will also benefit families above the threshold, including even many wealthy people with incomes of up to $300,000.

For students not receiving any financial aid, the estimated cost of attending Princeton this year is $79,540. This includes tuition, meals, accommodation, and miscellaneous expenses. Thus, the value of a complete trip, over four years, is well over $300,000.

The Next Inflation Worry: Rising Tuition Fees

Such are the benefits – for the privileged few who can get in – of attending a university with an endowment valued last year at more than $37 billion. Huge recent returns on that money are supporting the new aid.

Princeton President Christopher L. Eisgruber said the initiative aims to ensure students “thrive on our campus,” taking full advantage of academic, research and internship opportunities. He said the university would also drop a policy that students who receive financial aid must contribute $3,500 a year for books and miscellaneous expenses. This will likely reduce the pressure to find well-paying summer jobs or part-time work during the school year.

Princeton’s announcement is likely to reverberate among ultra-selective schools and students vying for admission. Harvard, Yale and Stanford universities all promote on their websites that families with incomes up to $75,000 and typical assets will be eligible for full-cost grants. Yale, for example, calls its program a “zero parental share award.”

In 2001, Princeton eliminated loans from the financial aid programs it offers to students. Some other prestigious schools have followed this “no loan” example.

But a financial aid expert says the impact on higher education of Princeton’s latest announcement will be quite limited at a time of growing concern over university costs and intense political debate over cancellation. student debt.

“Does it change the world? No,” said Sandy Baum, an economist at the Urban Institute who for many years analyzed trends in financial aid and pricing for the College Board. “Will it improve the lives of the few lucky enough to get into Princeton? Sure. … I’m not really worried about these Princeton students. I’m worried about everyone who’s not going to Princeton.

Colleges scramble to recruit students as nationwide enrollment plunges

With new residence halls, Princeton is boosting undergraduate enrollment from a pre-pandemic level of about 5,200 to about 5,700 by fall 2025. But demand for places far exceeds supply. Each year, the university attracts tens of thousands of applicants. Its acceptance rate was 4% for the class entering Fall 2021.

For many years, the university sought to shed its image as a haven for the elite. About 21% of freshmen this fall have sufficient financial need to qualify for Pell Grants, the university said, up from 10% in 2009. Pell Grants target assistance for low-to-moderate income families. Princeton’s Pell share is relatively high for its peer group, but is lower than shares found at many public universities.

What to know about Pell Grants

Eisgruber said he would like to further diversify the student body.

“We also have to think about middle-income students,” he said. Many of those just short of qualifying for Pell Grants are “underrepresented at colleges and universities like this,” Eisgruber said.

To illustrate its new policy, Princeton showed in a graph how the projected aid stipends would reduce the cost of attendance for families living in the United States with no more than one child in college and less than $150,000 in attendance. assets (not including retirement funds or a primary residence they may own).

Under these circumstances, a family earning $150,000 would have to pay $12,500 a year. The contribution would be $25,000 per year at an income level of $200,000, $37,500 at an income level of $250,000 and $50,000 at an income level of $300,000.

All of these amounts are significantly lower than the current cost of attendance – nearly $80,000 – for families who receive no financial assistance.

The table did not specify how the scenarios would work for international students. But Princeton officials say the university meets all financial needs, regardless of nationality.

The Princeton formula brings to light an open secret of higher education: the definition of financial need can vary enormously from one school to another. Families earning around $300,000 a year would qualify for little or no need-based aid at many other colleges or universities. But Eisgruber argued that such cases also deserve attention, especially when families have multiple children.

“We’re talking about families that face tough trade-offs,” he said, “where paying for a college education is something that can require a lot of budget sacrifice.”

Leave a Reply