College & Workforce Readiness

Princeton Switches Student Aid From Loans to Grants

By John Gehring — February 07, 2001 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Princeton University, in an aggressive effort to help students avoid the crushing debt load they often face after graduating from college, has revamped its financial-aid programs to eliminate loans and replace them entirely with grants.

The decision, approved by Princeton’s board of trustees late last month, takes effect next fall. About 40 percent of students in the class of 2004 at the prestigious 6,300-student university in New Jersey receive some financial aid, and nearly one-quarter take out loans to cover college costs.

“We want to ensure that no student admitted to Princeton feels that he or she cannot attend because it would present a financial hardship,” university President Harold T. Shapiro said in a statement announcing the decision.

Higher education experts said the move could put intense pressure on other Ivy League schools, such as Harvard and Yale universities, to follow suit in order to compete for students. But they said it seemed unlikely that colleges and universities elsewhere would do the same.

“This is a very important development, and it could set a precedent for many other selective institutions,” said Terry W. Hartle, a senior vice president of the Washington-based American Council on Education. “Princeton University has once again pushed the envelope with financial aid. It is clearly a breakthrough pro-position.”

But only a few colleges and universities, he said, will have the monetary muscle to adopt and sustain similar plans.

“This is a very expensive proposition,” said Mr. Hartle, who monitors financial-aid issues, “and only a small number of colleges will have the financial resources to match it.”

Debt-Free Graduates

Princeton’s new approach to financial aid greatly expands a program that the university launched in 1998 to reduce low- and middle-income students’ dependence on loans by replacing them with grants for students from families earning less than $46,500 a year and reducing loan reliance for students from families earning from $46,500 to $66,500.

Princeton officials estimate that the no-loan provision and other improvements to the university’s financial-aid programs will cost more than $5 million next year. The university will cover those expenses with money from its growing endowment, now estimated at about $8 billion, and with annual donations. Princeton officials say they spend an estimated $29 million a year on financial-aid programs.

College officials say the change should allow students who stay within a reasonable budget and meet part-time work requirements to graduate without any debt instead of owing $15,000 to $20,000 or more at the end of four years as is currently the case.

Princeton students will pay $33,613 for one year of tuition, room, and board next fall, a 3 percent increase over this year.

Related Tags:

A version of this article appeared in the February 07, 2001 edition of Education Week as Princeton Switches Student Aid From Loans to Grants

Events

School Climate & Safety K-12 Essentials Forum Strengthen Students’ Connections to School
Join this free event to learn how schools are creating the space for students to form strong bonds with each other and trusted adults.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Reading & Literacy Webinar
Creating Confident Readers: Why Differentiated Instruction is Equitable Instruction
Join us as we break down how differentiated instruction can advance your school’s literacy and equity goals.
Content provided by Lexia Learning
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
IT Infrastructure & Management Webinar
Future-Proofing Your School's Tech Ecosystem: Strategies for Asset Tracking, Sustainability, and Budget Optimization
Gain actionable insights into effective asset management, budget optimization, and sustainable IT practices.
Content provided by Follett Learning

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

College & Workforce Readiness What the Research Says New Data Paint Bleak Picture of Students' Post High School Outcomes
Students are taking much longer to complete credentials after high school than programs plan.
2 min read
Student hanging on a tearing graduate cap tassel
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty
College & Workforce Readiness This East Coast District Brought a Hollywood-Quality Experience to Its Students
A unique collaboration between a Virginia school district and two television actors allows students to gain real-life filmmaking experience.
6 min read
Bethel High School films a production of Fear the Fog at Fort Monroe on June 21, 2023.
Students from Bethel High School in Hampton, Va., film "Fear the Fog"<i> </i>at Virginia's Fort Monroe on June 21, 2023. Students wrote, directed, produced, and starred in the film through a partnership between their district, Hampton City Schools, and two television actors that's designed to give them applied, entertainment industry experience.
Courtesy of Hampton City Schools
College & Workforce Readiness A FAFSA Calculation Error Could Delay College Aid Applications—Again
It's the latest blunder to upend the "Better FAFSA," as it was branded by the Education Department.
2 min read
Jesus Noyola, a sophomore attending Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, poses for a portrait in the Folsom Library on Feb. 13, 2024, in Troy, N.Y. A later-than-expected rollout of a revised Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FASFA, that schools use to compute financial aid, is resulting in students and their parents putting off college decisions. Noyola said he hasn’t been able to submit his FAFSA because of an error in the parent portion of the application. “It’s disappointing and so stressful since all these issues are taking forever to be resolved,” said Noyola, who receives grants and work-study to fund his education.
Jesus Noyola, a sophomore at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, stands in the university's library on Feb. 13, 2024, in Troy, N.Y. He's one of thousands of existing and incoming college students affected by a problem-plagued rollout of the revised Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FASFA, that schools use to compute financial aid. A series of delays and errors is resulting in students and their parents putting off college decisions.
Hans Pennink/AP
College & Workforce Readiness How Well Are Schools Preparing Students? Advanced Academics and World Languages, in 4 Charts
New federal data show big gaps in students' access to the challenging coursework and foreign languages they need for college.
2 min read
Conceptual illustration of people and voice bubbles.
Getty