Making college cheaper on everyone’s mind. Even Princeton University, it turns out.
After President Joe Biden announced that he would eliminate up to $20,000 in student debt at the end of August, the debate about the cost of studying at the university gained new life. According to A statement on Thursday, the Ivy League school in central New Jersey now covers all tuition costs for families making less than $100,000 a year (it previously covered up to $65,000).
The change will take effect in the fall of 2023, and the university estimates that more than 25% of students will receive aid that covers the full cost of tuition, room and board. Princeton said families with incomes above $100,000 can also qualify for assistance.
This academic year, the estimated cost of attending Princeton was more than $79,000. The breakdown is $57,410 for tuition itself, $10,960 for room and board, $7,670 for food, and an additional $3,500 for miscellaneous expenses (counted as class fees, book costs, and personal expenses). Multiply that number by four and that’s more than $300,000 per student over four years, the average time it takes to earn a degree.
“One of Princeton’s defining values is our commitment to ensuring that talented students from all walks of life can not only afford a Princeton education, but also thrive on our campus and in the world beyond,” said ob’ said university president Christopher Eisgruber.
He added, “These enhancements to our aid packages, made possible by the continued generosity of our alumni and friends, will enhance the student experience during their time at Princeton, as well as their choice and impact after graduation.”
In a chart in the announcement, the university visually broke down families’ expected annual contribution in conjunction with their incomes. It shows families earning $75,000 and $100,000 with an expected total contribution of $0, and families earning $150,000 with a contribution of $12,500. The chart is up to $300,000, and the expected total contribution is $50,000 — well below the current cost of attendance without any financial assistance.
Of course, it will still be difficult to get there. Only 4% of the thousands of people who applied to Princeton were accepted as of 2021. It’s an Ivy League school with a prestigious reputation, but the changes being made are aimed at helping the select few who get in and decide to go.
Still, Sandy Baum, an economist with experience in higher education finance, says the impact of the change is limited.
“Does it change the world? No, she is told in Washington Post. “Will it improve the lives of the few people who are lucky enough to get into Princeton? Of course.”
“I’m not really worried about these Princeton students,” she added, “I’m worried about all the people who don’t go to Princeton.”
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