Admission, Financial Aid, Fees

Admission

Prospective applicants are encouraged to visit the Office of Admission website where they may also find information about financial aid. They may also contact  the Admission Office directly.  

General Principles

Princeton is a great teaching and research university with a distinct commitment to undergraduate education and seeks to enroll the most talented students from a broad spectrum of cultural, ethnic and economic backgrounds.

The Faculty Committee on Undergraduate Admission and Financial Aid, which meets with a parallel student committee, is responsible for advising the administration on admission policy. The Office of Admission seeks to identify candidates who aspire to be a part of a diverse community of people and ideas. They consider applicants who they think will embrace Princeton’s many academic opportunities inside the classroom, but who also want to learn, create, innovate and collaborate outside of the classroom to take advantage of the university’s extensive facilities and resources.

Prospective applicants have excelled within the context of their respective high schools and communities. They bring a strong academic record, maturity and a wide range of experience and perspective, all of which contribute to the life of the University.

Entrance Standards

Princeton does not prescribe fixed secondary school course requirements for admission. The University recognizes the diversity of programs offered by secondary schools and is primarily interested in the quality and breadth of the student's record. The secondary school's testimony about academic ability and interest as well as motivation, reliability, and strength of character are very important.

Although the applicant's course program is but one of several elements taken into consideration by the admission committee, English, foreign languages, and mathematics are so necessary to intellectual growth and attainment that sustained study of each in secondary school is expected. The following program is recommended: English, four years with continued practice in writing; foreign language, four years of one language (rather than two years each of two languages), preferably continued through the final year of secondary school; mathematics, four years of college preparatory mathematics, also preferably continued through the final year of secondary school.

In addition to these studies, the following are important components of strong preparation for work in the University: three to four years of science, including two years of laboratory science; three to four years of social studies, including at least two years of history, with some study of a country or region outside the United States; and some study of art and music. Students seeking a B.S.E. degree should have a strong record in mathematics and in the natural sciences, including at least one year of physics.

The University will give full consideration to an applicant who has been unable to pursue the recommended studies to the full extent if the record otherwise shows clear promise.

Princeton grants advanced placement for some college-level studies completed prior to matriculation. For information, see the advanced placement section of this catalog.

Application Procedures

Students may apply for first-year admission to Princeton either through single-choice early action or through regular decision. Students seeking entrance to Princeton in the fall of 2019 must submit the Common Application, the Coalition Application, or the Universal College Application, plus a required graded written paper. Detailed application instructions and additional information concerning admission procedures, application fees, optional arts supplements,  alumni interviews, standardized testing requirements, and notification date, may be found at the Office of Admission website. Inquiries about admission can be made by contacting the Office of Admission.

Transfer Admission

Princeton's transfer admission process enrolls a small group of exceptionally well-prepared transfer students every year from a range of backgrounds. We particularly encourage applications from students from low-income backgrounds, community college students, and U.S. military veterans. Students who have earned credits at another institution, including those who have attained an associate degree or equivalent credential, may apply through our transfer application. Students who have already earned a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent are not eligible. Transfer students will normally be expected to enter as A.B. sophomores or B.S.E. first-year student, though occasional exceptions may be made. Students admitted through the transfer program will receive an admission packet that specifies their academic standing upon matriculation and includes a preliminary evaluation of transfer credit to fulfill Princeton’s general education requirements. An admitted transfer student may make a written request to enroll with lower standing than his or her admission packet specifies – i.e., a transfer student accepted as a sophomore may request to enroll as a first-year student – but in doing so forfeits course units of credit commensurate with that lowered standing. All transfer students will matriculate in the fall term. Transfer students have had the benefit of being enrolled at another institution of higher education and are required to live and dine within the residential college system during their first year of enrollment only.

More information about the admissions process is available in the transfer section of the Office of Admission website.

Undergraduate Financial Aid

Princeton’s groundbreaking financial aid program has replaced loans with grants — which do not have to be repaid — for all students who qualify for aid. Visit the Financial Aid website to learn more about the financial aid program for enrolled students, or contact the Office of Undergraduate Financial Aid.

Princeton's need-based financial aid program reflects the University's core value of affordability. Each student's need is determined individually based on family resources and is met in full with grants and a campus job. Loans are not included in a student's initial aid package, but may be available for expenses outside the basic budget, or to cover an earnings shortfall. Princeton does not offer academic or athletic scholarships.

Enrolled undergraduate students apply for financial aid on an annual basis, and will continue to receive University grant as long as they demonstrate financial need. A complete description of federal, state, and University aid funds, as well as detailed instructions on how to apply for aid, can be found on the Financial Aid website.

Under federal tax laws that became effective in 1987, scholarship or grant support in excess of tuition and related expenses (required books, fees, supplies, and equipment), regardless of the source, is considered taxable income. Proceeds from educational loans are not considered taxable income. Compensation from the University received under the Federal Work-Study Program or other employment arrangements is also considered taxable income, but is not subject to Social Security taxes if earned during the academic year.

Fees and Expenses

The amount charged for tuition covers approximately one-half of the University's actual educational costs for a student. Fees and other charges for the 2019-20 academic year:

  • Tuition $51,870
  • Room charge $10,090
  • Board rate $7,060
  • Residential college fee $930

The list above represents the regular University charges. These charges are subject to change without prior notice. Changes in programs and in the academic calendar do not entitle students to any credits against established fees.

The financial aid budget includes an allowance of $3,500 for other costs that a student may incur during the year. These expenses typically include books, laundry, clothing, recreation, incidentals, dues, and activity fees.

The total student budget for the 2019–20 academic year, therefore, is approximately $73,450, not including travel expenses, which vary depending on a student's state or country of residence. Costs for 2020-21 are expected to increase modestly.

Students who are not covered under their family's medical insurance must purchase a Princeton health plan for an additional charge of $1900.

Housing and Dining

All first year and sophomore students are required to live and dine in one of the six residential colleges.  Students with disabilities who seek accommodations must register with the Office of Disability Services (241 Frist Campus Center, 609-258-8840). Registration through self-identification is a voluntary process that is treated confidentially and may occur at any time during the student's course of study.  Information for students and their families on housing and meal plans, move-in and move-out, campus safety and transportation and more is found on the undergraduate housing website.

Student Accounts

Tuition bills are sent electronically to the student's Princeton.edu email address. Students can delegate parents and gardians to receive billing notifications. Visit the Student Accounts website for more information or contact the Finance and Treasury Department, Student Accounts Office, 701 Carnegie Center, Suite 435, Princeton, New Jersey, 08540; phone (609) 258-6378; e-mail studacct@princeton.edu.

Special Fees

Application

Information about the admission application fee and available waivers can be found at the "How to Apply" section of the Office of Admissions website.

Late Academic Year Sign-In

$75.

Change of Course

No charge for course changes during the first two weeks of classes. A fee of $45 is assessed for each course change beginning in the third week of classes.

Failure to Select Courses by Deadline

Undergraduates who do not complete course selection by the specified deadlines are assessed a penalty of $10 per day.

Transcript and Certifications

A one-time document fee of $75 is assessed in the first semester of enrollment. This fee will cover all subsequent requests for standard delivery of academic transcripts and enrollment verifications.

Student Car Parking

Information about parking is available on the University's Transportation & Parking Services website.

Continuing Education Students

For information about applications and fees, inquire at the Office of Community and Regional Affairs, or conted2@princeton.edu.

Payment of Fees and Charges

Payment of the basic University charges for the academic year (tuition, room, meal contract, class dues, student health plan, and residential college and Undergraduate Student Government fees, less financial aid provided by Princeton) is due in full in two parts: half by August 25 and half by January 25. Electronic billing (E-billing) to students at their Princeton.edu e-mail account is the official method of distributing the University tuition bill. Paper bills will not be sent home. Students can delegate others to enroll to receive email billing notifications. Billing notices are sent in advance of the due date. Electronic payments can be submitted online and checks in U.S. dollars are acceptable forms of payment. Credit card payments are not accepted. Any balance that is unpaid beyond the due date will be assessed a late payment charge. This charge will be an annual rate of interest, to be established prior to the start of the academic year. Notices will be sent monthly for any additional charges incurred. Account activity can be viewed online at any time by all authorized parties.

The University offers the student a Monthly Payment Plan, which allows payment of the basic fees (tuition, room, meals, class dues, student health plan, and residential college and Undergraduate Student Government fees, less financial aid provided by Princeton University), to be divided over 10 monthly payments due on the 25th of the month, August through May. There is a $40.00 per term fee that will be charged on the first installment for each term. Additional interest will be charged on any amounts past due. This rate will be the same as the rate for late payment on the student account. An electronic application can be submitted on the Account Summary page located on the Student Financials tile on TigerHub.

The University also offers the Princeton Parent Loan Program, which enables qualified families to borrow money from Princeton to pay their share of the student's budget over an extended period. Repayment begins with the first month of borrowing and continues for 10 years after graduation. There are two interest options: variable, which is adjusted every six months, July and January, for the life of the loan and based on the six-month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR), and fixed, which is determined in August. An electronic application can be submitted from the Loans & Receivables website.

Students are responsible for satisfying all student account obligations by the due date on the student bill. A student who fails to meet all financial obligations may be subject to one or more of the following: (a) prohibited from course selection and/or course changes, (b) placed on leave of absence until all financial obligations are met, (c) prohibited from enrolling or being readmitted to the University, (d) refused a transcript, (e) denied a diploma document at graduation, and (f) responsible for payment of all collection cost, including reasonable collection agency fees, attorney charges and legal fees necessary for the collection of outstanding indebtedness.

Students leaving the University within the first two weeks of classes in either term will be charged 10 percent of the tuition for the term; during the third week of classes, 20 percent; during the fourth week of classes, 30 percent; during the fifth week of classes, 40 percent; and during the sixth and seventh week of classes, 50 percent. If a student leaves after the seventh week of classes, 80 percent of the tuition for that term will be charged; after the end of week nine, the full amount for the term will be charged. Students who leave after the beginning of a term also incur room and board charges in accordance with the terms of their contracts; ordinarily, board charges will be adjusted on a pro rata basis, while the full amount of the room charges for that term will be charged. The fees set by student organizations, residential colleges, and other dining or living units are established on a semester-by-semester basis and will not be refunded to students who leave after the beginning of a term.

Although financial assistance is awarded for the entire academic year, it is credited to a student's bill in semester installments. If a student takes a leave of absence before completing the year, aid credits will be available to pay expenses in proportion to actual charges. Financial aid will be used to pay for room and board consistent with the terms of the contracts. The residential college fee, student government fee, and class dues will be charged by semester; they also may be paid by aid once tuition, room, and board charges have been satisfied.

If not used to cover the charges mentioned above, remaining aid credits will be returned to the sources from which they came as specified by program requirements. When taking a leave of absence, students receive detailed information about refunds and aid credits from the Financial Aid Office.

Students who are required to repeat a semester for other than disciplinary reasons are eligible for financial aid as described above. Students who leave Princeton for disciplinary reasons, however, will not be eligible to receive University grant aid if they must repeat a term as a result.

Upon taking a leave of absence or graduation, the net balance of the student's account will be determined by applying all payments and available credits to the account against all outstanding amounts due to the University.

Students who take a leave of absence without meeting all financial obligations to the University will have their transcripts withheld and will not be eligible for reinstatement to Princeton until the balance has been paid. If balances remain due following a student's leave of absence, the University may secure legal assistance to obtain payment. All legal fees and reasonable collection expenses will be added to the obligation due Princeton.

While the University recognizes that continuity in its payment policies will best help parents plan to meet the educational costs of their children, due to changing financial circumstances, the University must reserve the right to alter the terms and means of payment required from year to year.

Veterans Affairs Benefits Addendum

In accordance with Title 38 US Code 3679 subsection (e), Princeton University adopts the following additional provisions for any students using U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Post 9/11 G.I. Bill® (Ch. 33) or Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (Ch. 31) benefits, while payment to the institution is pending from the VA.  Princeton University will not:

  • Prevent the student's enrollment;
  • Assess a late penalty fee to;
  • Require student secure alternative or additional funding;
  • Deny their access to any resources (access to classes, libraries, or other institutional facilities) available to other students who have satisfied their tuition and fee bills to the institution.

However, to qualify for this provision, such students may be required to:

  • Provide Chapter 33 Certificate of Eligibility (or its equivalent) or for Chapter 31, VA VR&E’s contract with the school on VA Form 28-1905 by the first day of class. (Note: Chapter 33 students can register at the VA Regional Office to use E-Benefits to get the equivalent of a Chapter 33 Certificate of Eligibility. Chapter 31 students cannot get a completed VA Form 28-1905 (or any equivalent) before the VA VR&E case-manager issues it to the school.)
  • Provide written request to be certified;
  • Provide additional information needed to properly certify the enrollment as described in other institutional policies