Princeton makes offers to 9.79 percent of applicants; expands class and aid

In keeping with the culmination of a five-year plan to expand the size of its student body, Princeton University has offered admission to 2,150, or 9.79 percent of the record 21,964 applicants for the class of 2013.

The University plans to enroll its highest number of freshmen in history -- 1,300 students -- as the final stage of the expansion.

The expansion of the student body means the University's admission rate for the class of 2013 keeps pace with last year's 9.25 percent, even as this year marked the fifth consecutive year the University set a record for students applying for admission. The strength of Princeton's financial aid program may be a factor in students' decisions to attend, especially in light of the economy, said Dean of Admission Janet Rapelye.
"Our goal is to assist families with financial aid offers that will help them realize that Princeton is possible for them," Rapelye said. "In spite of the economy, we feel we have a responsibility to reach out to students from every income background, and that commitment has not changed, even in this economic downturn. Princeton is in the fortunate position to be able to continue to do that."

The University expects 59 percent of the class that enrolls in the fall will receive need-based financial aid, up from 56 percent receiving aid in the prior freshman class. The average grant is projected to exceed $36,000, compared to $33,600 for last year's entering aid students. Princeton has a "no-loan" policy, which meets financial need with grants instead of loans, allowing all students who qualify for financial aid to graduate debt free. Also, the University's admission process is need-blind, meaning students are not at a disadvantage if they are applying for financial aid.

The scholarship budget for the next fiscal year is projected to rise from this year's $92 million to $104 million, an increase of 13 percent. This accommodates the needs of an increased number of students on financial aid, in addition to the upward adjustments in scholarship amounts the University already has begun awarding this year to meet the increased need of individual families.

Acceptance letters were mailed March 31, and the Office of Admission also informed applicants of their decisions through an online notification system. Admitted students had an opportunity to review a brief description of their financial aid awards, in addition to learning their admission decision, through the online notification system beginning at 5 p.m. March 31.

The number of applicants represents a 2.8 percent increase over the 21,370 candidates who applied for the class of 2012. Among this year's applicants: more than 7,800 had a cumulative 4.0 grade point average; more than 11,000 had a combined score of 2100 or higher on the three sections of the SAT; and they come from 7,692 high schools in 142 countries. Alumni volunteers had personal contact with an unprecedented 100 percent of applicants.

In addition to the 2,150 offered admission, 1,331 students were offered positions on the wait list, though only half of those students are expected to choose to stay on the wait list, as in past years.

"We are hoping we will have an opportunity to use the wait list this year," Rapelye said. "In the last five years, we have taken as few as zero and as many as 148 from the wait list."

While many wait-listed students will choose other alternatives, several hundred are expected to remain on the wait list, and those students who may be offered a spot in May or June will receive the same financial aid considerations as students offered admission this week, Rapelye said.

The students receiving outright offers of admission for the class of 2013 come from all 50 states and Washington, D.C., with the largest number of students admitted from California, followed in order by New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts. International students make up 10 percent of the admitted students, and they are citizens of 55 countries, including Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Botswana, Chile, China, France, Hong Kong, India, Israel, Mongolia, Norway, Peru, Republic of Serbia, Tanzania, Turkey and Venezuela.

Fifty percent of the students admitted to the class of 2013 are men, 50 percent are women, and admitted students self-identified among the following racial and ethnic groups: 9.1 percent as African American; 20.9 percent as Asian American; 7.9 percent as Hispanic or Latino; 0.5 percent as Native American; and 6.4 percent identified themselves as belonging to two or more races. Seventeen percent of the admitted students stated plans to pursue a bachelor of science in engineering, almost the same number as last year.

The entering freshman class will reach its new "steady state" of 1,300 students for the first time since the University began in 2005 gradually expanding the student body. An 11 percent increase in the number of undergraduates will result in a student body of 5,200 by the 2012-13 academic year.

"What we're aiming to accomplish in expanding the freshman class is to offer this splendid education to more students," Rapelye said. "We've been expanding the class over the last five years, and are grateful to be able to move forward with both this expansion and also our new Bridge Year Program in these challenging economic times."

A small portion of the entering class, 20 students, will defer their enrollment as part of the new service abroad program. The program was endorsed by a president's committee last summer, and will launch this spring with the selection of the 20 entering freshmen for the pilot group that will spend nine months abroad participating in community service projects beginning this fall.

Applications for the Bridge Year Program will be due May 13 from students who accept the University's offer of admission, and those students will be notified of placements by June 10. Students may indicate on their applications preferred destinations from among four locations around the world where the University is working with program partners on sponsored service projects: Peru, Ghana, Serbia and India. More information about applying to the Bridge Year Program is available at