Princeton's class of 2013 is its largest ever and includes a record percentage of financial aid recipients, with 60 percent of the 1,300 incoming freshmen receiving assistance under the University's groundbreaking aid program.
"We continue to be tremendously successful in attaining our goal of making Princeton affordable for any students regardless of family financial circumstances," Dean of the College Nancy Malkiel said in her report at the Sept. 21 faculty meeting. "And we are extraordinarily fortunate to be able to reaffirm our commitment to the strongest possible undergraduate financial aid program in a period of significant fiscal stringency."
A total of 782 incoming freshmen are receiving financial aid. The record-high number and percentage of students on aid are up substantially from the previous year's record of 697 students, or 56 percent of the class of 2012. The average grant of $35,309 is up from $33,671 a year earlier (see sidebar). The incoming class includes 206 students from low-income backgrounds, or nearly 16 percent of freshmen.
The class of 2013 is the 12th to matriculate since the University began revamping its financial aid practices -- including instituting a pioneering "no-loan" policy -- to make a Princeton education more affordable to a broader range of students. In the class of 2001, the last class to enter before the aid improvements, 38 percent of the students were on financial aid with an average grant of $15,064, and students from low-income backgrounds made up 8 percent of the class.
The class of 2013 is Princeton's largest, marking the culmination of a gradual expansion of the student body and reaching the now-annual target of 1,300 students for the entering class. The incoming freshmen were selected from a record 21,963 applicants, a 2.8 percent increase from the record 21,370 applicants for the class of 2012 and a 60.4 percent rise compared to the 13,695 applications received for the class of 2008.
Beginning with the class of 2012, the University ended its binding early decision admission process and admitted all undergraduates through a single process, seeking to attract a broader pool of applicants. Applications to Princeton have risen steadily in recent years as the University has expanded recruitment initiatives and increased awareness of its financial aid program.
Reflecting efforts to enhance the diversity of its applicant pool, Princeton is enrolling a record number of minority students in the freshman class this year. A total of 487 freshmen are from minority backgrounds, representing 37.4 percent of the class, compared to 471 minority students, or 37.9 percent of the class of 2012. The class of 2013 also includes 136 international students, constituting 10.5 percent of the class, compared to 141 students, or 11.3 percent of the class, a year earlier.
"Building a strong multicultural community is a high priority for the University, and we will continue to concentrate on the recruitment, selection and yields of minority students in the applicant pool for the class of 2014," Malkiel said.
The class of 2013 also reflects continued progress in terms of gender. The percentage of applicants, admitted students and enrolled students was evenly balanced between men and women. Moreover, women comprise 43 percent of engineering students in the freshmen class, the second-highest percentage after last year's record 46.6 percent.
Overall, Princeton offered admission to 2,209 applicants, or 10.1 percent of those who applied to the class of 2013. The University offered admission to 2,122 applicants, or 9.9 percent of those who applied to the class of 2012.
The incoming freshman class figures do not include the 20 students admitted to the class of 2013 who are participating in the first year of Princeton's Bridge Year Program, in which they spend a year abroad on service projects. Those students will enroll with the class of 2014.
Princeton currently enrolls 5,047 undergraduates including the incoming class, according to the Office of the Registrar. (Official opening enrollment numbers will be available in October.) For additional figures on the class of 2013, see "By the numbers" in the Sept. 13 issue of the Princeton University Bulletin.