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Princeton will enhance its groundbreaking financial aid program

Emily Aronson, Office of Communications | Thu Sep 8, 2022

Princeton University will enhance its groundbreaking financial aid program, providing even more generous support to undergraduates and their families as it works to attract talented students from all backgrounds.

More than 25% of undergraduates are expected to receive aid covering full tuition, room and board.

Most families earning up to $100,000 a year will pay nothing, and many families with income above $100,000 will receive additional aid, including those at higher income levels with multiple children in college. A majority of the additional scholarship funding will benefit families earning less than $150,000, and the University’s highest-need students will receive new and expanded forms of financial support.

The improvements continue Princeton’s national leadership in the area of financial aid as families across the income spectrum struggle with rising college costs. In 2001, Princeton was the first university in the country to eliminate loans from its financial aid packages. Since then, more than 10,000 undergraduates have benefited from Princeton’s aid program, which meets students’ full financial need with grants that do not need to be repaid.

Most families earning up to $100,000 a year will pay nothing

“One of Princeton’s defining values is our commitment 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,” President Christopher L. Eisgruber said. “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.”

The new financial aid policies will take effect for all undergraduates starting in fall 2023.

Princeton was the first university in the country to eliminate loans in 2001

Results of the changes include:

  • Most families whose annual income is less than $100,000 will pay nothing for tuition, room and board, up from the previous $65,000 annual income level. Roughly 1,500 Princeton undergraduates are expected to receive this level of aid — more than 25% of the undergraduate student body.
  • The $3,500 student contribution typically earned through summer savings and campus work will be eliminated. The elimination of the student contribution will provide more opportunities for students to study abroad and to pursue other curricular and co-curricular activities during the summer and academic year. 
  • The financial aid calculation will be simplified so most families can compute their aid award with readily available information.

Old Financial Aid Methodology

The average grant for families with income under $65,000 covers the full cost of tuition, room and board.

Average Family Contribution by Income (based on Class of 2026 data)
Income Range Average Parent Contribution Standard Student Contribution Total Family Contribution
$65,000-90,000 $5,000 $3,500 $8,500
$90,000–110,000 $9,400 $3,500 $12,900
$140,000–160,000 $20,175 $3,500 $23,675
$190,000–210,000 $36,025 $3,500 $39,525
$240,000–260,000 $45,825 $3,500 $49,325
$290,000–310,000 $62,000 $3,500 $65,500

New Financial Aid Methodology

Most families with income under $100,000 will qualify for grant aid to cover full tuition, room, board, books and personal expenses.

Family Contribution by Income
Income Total Family Contribution
$75,000 $0
$100,000 $0
$150,000 $12,500
$200,000 $25,000
$250,000 $37,500
$300,000 $50,000
"Princeton's generous financial aid program has transformed the socioeconomic diversity of our undergraduate student population."

“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 Dean of the College Jill 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.”

Starting in fall 2023, Dolan said the University will make other enhancements to financially support students. For example, the University will increase from $3,500 to $4,050 the annual personal and books allowance used in financial aid packages to provide more flexibility for students to cover course books and other miscellaneous expenses. Additionally, Princeton will make it possible for the students with the highest financial need to bring two guests (typically family members) to campus for first year move-in and for senior year Commencement.

Princeton is often ranked at the top of surveys rating affordability in higher education. The University meets full need for both U.S. and international students. Applying for financial aid is in no way a disadvantage in the admission process, which ensures equality of opportunity for all students.

“President Eisgruber continues to emphasize Princeton’s commitment to talented students from across the country and around the world,” Dean of Admission and Financial Aid Karen Richardson said. “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.”

More information on the enhanced financial aid policies can be found on the Office of Admission website.

President Eisgruber talks about the expansion of financial aid
Financial Aid expansion

President Christopher L. Eisgruber explains how Princeton will enhance its financial aid program, providing even more generous support to undergraduates and their families as the University works to attract talented students from all backgrounds.