News at Princeton

Monday, Sept. 22, 2014

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Financial aid program provides access, affordability


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Financial Aid Director Robin Moscato answers frequently asked questions about Princeton's landmark no-loan policy. Read story.


Video Closed Captions

Philip Grace:
What sets Princeton's financial aid program apart?

Robin Moscato:
Well, when I think what makes Princeton's financial aid program special, two things come to mind.

Robin Moscato:
The first is generosity.

Robin Moscato:
Our aid program is able to meet the full need of every admitted student who applies for financial aid,

Robin Moscato:
and we're able to do this with grants and not student loans.

Robin Moscato:
In 2001, we eliminated student loans from the financial aid packages for all students,

Robin Moscato:
making it possible to graduate from Princeton debt-free.

Robin Moscato:
The second thing that comes to mind is comprehensiveness.

Robin Moscato:
Our financial aid program is able to assist students from a very wide range of economic backgrounds.

Robin Moscato:
While students from lower-income families might expect to receive grants that cover the full tuition, room and board cost,

Robin Moscato:
what might be less well known is that middle-income students also receive

Robin Moscato:
very generous financial aid grants that reduce the cost of attendance,

Robin Moscato:
and even upper-middle-income families often qualify for partial grants that help pay Princeton's cost.

Robin Moscato:
When we look back over the last 10 years at all that Princeton's aid program has accomplished, it's clear that, today,

Robin Moscato:
Princeton is more affordable to students from a wider range of economic backgrounds than at any other time in its history.

Devon Ahearn:
What is Princeton's need-blind approach to financial aid?

Robin Moscato:
Princeton's admission policy is need-blind, and what that means is that

Robin Moscato:
applying for financial aid or needing financial aid is in no way a disadvantage in the admission process.

Robin Moscato:
And because of our very comprehensive aid program backing up this need-blind policy,

Robin Moscato:
we're able to encourage students from all income levels to apply for admission to Princeton.

Katie Rodriguez:
How does Princeton decide how much aid to give?

Robin Moscato:
Princeton's financial aid program is based on need, rather than merit,

Robin Moscato:
so we review each family's financial circumstances very carefully and individually.

Robin Moscato:
And we encourage families to explain their own economic circumstances

Robin Moscato:
so that we can make a fair determination of the amount that each family can reasonably afford.

Robin Moscato:
We then meet their need with grants, not student loans. In fact, many families find that

Robin Moscato:
Princeton is more affordable than even a state college or community college in their own hometown.

Philip Grace:
What does Princeton's "no-loan policy" mean?

Robin Moscato:
In 2001, Princeton decided to eliminate the student loan portion of all financial aid packages

Robin Moscato:
and replace that portion with additional grant aid. This means that Princeton students can graduate debt-free.

Robin Moscato:
That opens up many options for students to consider after Princeton without concern about making loan repayments.

Katie Rodriguez:
How does the cost of Princeton compare to other colleges?

Robin Moscato:
Princeton's financial aid program is one of the strongest in the country

Robin Moscato:
and in fact from around the world since our aid policies apply to international students, as well as U.S. students.

Robin Moscato:
Families that qualify for aid often find that Princeton is one of their most affordable choices,

Robin Moscato:
and in fact, our average grant for an aid student covers more than 95 percent of Princeton's tuition.

Robin Moscato:
To help families find out how much aid they might qualify for, we actually created the Princeton financial aid estimator,

Robin Moscato:
which is a calculator that's free, it's easy to use and it's confidential and can be found on our website,

Robin Moscato:
and we encourage students to use this estimator to find out how the aid program might work for their family.

Devon Ahearn:
Why does Princeton offer so much in its financial aid program?

Robin Moscato:
Well, the primary reason is we're very committed to economic diversity within our community of scholars.

Robin Moscato:
The last 10 years have been a remarkable time of change at Princeton, and the financial aid program expansion

Robin Moscato:
has contributed to this in a number of ways. Today, more than 55 percent of each entering class receives financial aid.

Robin Moscato:
More than double the number of low-income students enroll with each class compared to a decade ago,

Robin Moscato:
and middle-income students are represented in ever-increasing numbers in our student body.

Robin Moscato:
We feel it's very important to provide both a level playing field and equality of opportunity

Robin Moscato:
to students from all income levels when it comes to obtaining a Princeton education.

Katie Rodriguez:
How has Princeton expanded financial aid since the no-loan program was launched?

Robin Moscato:
Princeton's commitment to its financial aid program is ongoing.

Robin Moscato:
Every year, we review our policies to make sure that we are keeping up with the changing needs of our students and their families.

Robin Moscato:
Some of the more recent improvements include increases in grants to help students pay for dining options and study abroad programs.

Robin Moscato:
The most important message is that students shouldn't be deterred from looking at Princeton because of sticker price,

Robin Moscato:
because you may be missing out on the most affordable college option that you'll have.

Robin Moscato:
I hope you'll take a few minutes to take a look at our financial aid estimator and read about Princeton's admission and aid program on our website.

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