Record 52 percent of freshman class receives financial aid
By Ruth Stevens
Princeton NJ -- The financial aid improvements implemented at Princeton several years ago are continuing to attract an economically diverse group of students to the University: A record 52 percent of this year's freshman class is receiving need-based financial aid.
The goal of the enhancements, which were first instituted in 2000, is to make a Princeton education affordable for students regardless of family financial circumstances. The measures have included replacing loans with grants that need not be repaid, reducing the amount students are expected to contribute from their savings and admitting both U.S. and international students on an entirely "need-blind" basis.
As a result, the percentage of each freshman class on financial aid has steadily climbed, from 38 percent of the class of 2001 -- the last class admitted before the improvements -- to this year's figure of more than half of the class of 2007. Last year, 50 percent of the freshman class received financial aid from the University.
The 1,171 members of this year's freshman class continue to represent a diverse group, according to Janet Rapelye, dean of admission. The U.S. students hail from 47 states. A total of 29 percent of the class are students of color and 9 percent are international students from 40 countries. About 55 percent come from public schools, 36 percent from private schools and 9 percent from religiously affiliated schools. Those figures are similar to last year's numbers.
"Our generous financial aid program is a foundation for attracting the very best students to Princeton and allows us to recruit students from every background, including students from abroad," said Rapelye, who joined the staff in July. "I look forward to greeting the class of 2007 on campus at the same time the admission office begins the travel season to meet the prospective students applying for the class of 2008."
Princeton received a record number of 15,726 applications this year, an 8.3 percent increase from 14,521 last year. The University offered admission to 1,601 students for a 10.2 percent all-time low admit rate. A total of 73.1 percent decided to enroll as members of the class of 2007, slightly less than last year's record yield rate of 73.6.
Some 587 or 50 percent of the students who enrolled were admitted through the University's early decision program, which provides students with an opportunity to apply by Nov. 1 and receive a decision by early December. They, in turn, commit themselves to enrolling at Princeton.
The class of 2007 is made up of 53.5 percent men and 46.5 percent women. About 12 percent are sons or daughters of alumni. Those figures also are similar to last year's numbers.
Total undergraduate enrollment at the University this fall is expected to be just over 4,600.