Princeton's commitment to access, diversity embodied in the Class of 2018

Sept. 18, 2014 9:15 a.m.

Princeton has enrolled its most diverse class in the history of the University, with a record 43 percent of the 1,313 students making up the Class of 2018 coming from various racial and ethnic backgrounds. 

"Building a diverse community is a high priority for the University, and we will continue to concentrate on the recruitment, selection and yield from every background," Dean of the College Valerie Smith said in her report on the Class of 2018 at a Sept. 15 faculty meeting.

The Class of 2018 reflects the University's commitment to affordability, with a record 290 students from low-income backgrounds making up 22 percent of the Class of 2018, and with 769 students receiving financial aid. The total project scholarship budget for the Class of 2018 is $33.7 million, and the average grant for freshmen is $43,846.

"At Princeton, access and affordability are core values," said Smith. "We continue to be extremely successful in attaining our goal of making Princeton affordable for any student regardless of family circumstances."  

The Class of 2018 is the 17th to matriculate since the University began a series of enhancements to its undergraduate financial aid program in 1998. Princeton was the first university in the United States to offer a comprehensive no-loan financial aid program that provides need-based aid in the form of grants, making it possible for students to graduate without debt. As a result, the average "net cost" for Princeton students today is lower than it was in 2001, even before adjusting for inflation.

"About 60 percent of Princeton undergraduates now receive need-based financial aid," said Smith. 

A near-high 26,641 applications were submitted for consideration for the Class of 2018, and admission was offered to 1,983 applicants. This admission rate for this class, 7.4 percent of those who applied, ties last year as the University's most selective in its history. Of all the newly enrolled members of the class, 155 are first-generation college students.

The Class of 2018 includes 147 international students representing 50 countries and constituting 11.2 percent of the freshman class. 

The class is comprised of 48.4 percent women and 51.6 percent men. 

The figures for the incoming freshman class do not include the 35 students admitted to the Class of 2018 who are participating in the Bridge Year Program, which offers students the opportunity to live abroad tuition-free while performing service projects. Those students will enroll with the Class of 2019. The figures for the Class of 2018 do include students admitted with the Class of 2017 who participated in the Bridge Year Program last year. 

According to preliminary figures from the Office of the Registrar, Princeton currently enrolls 5,230 undergraduate students.

Smith's report was based on preliminary figures compiled by the Office of Admission and the Office of Undergraduate Financial Aid. Official opening enrollment figures will be published in October on the Office of the Registrar website.