Q&A: Betterton addresses financial aid concerns

Sept. 2, 2004 10:55 a.m.

With high school seniors now embarking on the college application process, many families are dealing with price shock amid rising costs for higher education.

While the cost of attending Princeton has risen for students who pay full tuition -- although not as much as that of many other institutions -- the University has taken major steps to make a Princeton education more affordable for all students. The cornerstone of these enhancements was the replacement of loans for undergraduates with grants that do not need to be repaid. The change, instituted in 2001, set a standard that has caused other universities to re-examine and improve their own aid programs.

In addition to increasing its financial aid budget, Princeton also provides online tools to assist families with their aid applications. To address common concerns of prospective students and their families, Princeton's director of undergraduate financial aid, Don Betterton, spoke with Office of Communications contributing writer Shani Hilton about key features of the University's financial aid program.

How has the "no-loan" policy affected admissions at Princeton?

Since the policy went into effect, we have had a major increase in the number of aid students. In the 2004-05 academic year, we anticipate that 51 percent of Princeton undergraduates will be on aid. Overall we've seen our aid population grow from about 1,800 students to nearly 2,400, an increase of one-third.

As an institution, we are firmly committed to the idea of economic diversity. We believe our undergraduate educational experience is better for everyone by having students from a variety of economic backgrounds.

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Contact: Eric Quinones (609) 258-3601