Financial Aid FAQ (Fall 2020)
We understand that the disruption caused by COVID-19 and the subsequent changes for the upcoming academic year may raise questions about what 2020-21 will look like. Please use this page as a resource for your financial aid-related questions.
1. What are the student budgets for the semester?
The tuition charge for all students will be $24,251 per term for the 2020-21 academic year, reflecting a 10% rate reduction from the 2020-21 tuition charge announced by the Board of Trustees in April 2020. This reduced rate will be used in all financial aid packages and will not change parental contributions. See question 4 below about parental contribution concerns.
For the 2020-21 academic year, there are two student budgets—one for students who will live at their permanent residence (home budget) and one for students who will rent an alternate residence (off campus budget). To view these budgets, please visit https://finaid.princeton.edu/how-aid-works/student-budget.
2. Which budget will be used for my aid award for the fall semester?
Students will initially be assigned the home budget.
If you are unable to live at home, you can request the off campus budget by completing an Off Campus Budget Request Form. The off campus budget is designed to encompass the entire semester, from the first day of class through the end of finals period, for each of the two semesters. To receive an off campus budget for either semester, you must submit documentation that demonstrates your rental living arrangements for the following periods of time:
Fall 2020 Semester: September 1, 2020 through at least November 25, 2020
Spring 2021 Semester: February 1, 2021 through at least April 30, 2021
Due to the recent announcement about the fall term, students who have extenuating circumstances that make it impossible for them to learn at home will be eligible to request a prorated off campus budget. These students who are unable to secure a rental that begins on September 1 but who submit a lease that begins between September 1 and October 1 will receive an aid adjustment combining the at home budget for the period from August 31 to September 30, and an off campus budget for the duration of the fall semester. Students’ leases must run from at least October 1 through November 25. The September 30 deadline to submit the Off Campus Budget Request Form is unchanged.
3. I am not able to secure alternative housing off-campus. Can I apply to live on campus?
In almost all cases, accessing housing off campus will be the best option for students who are unable to live and learn at home. However, we recognize that some students may not be able to live at home or secure off campus housing due to a combination of exigent circumstances.
Due to the recent announcement about the fall term, the University has opened a second application process for students with high financial need and/or serious extenuating circumstances that make it impossible for them to either learn at home or secure alternative housing from which to pursue their studies. This application will be available to students in the Classes of 2022 and 2024 (those previously planning for campus residency in the fall) as well as other students who were formerly invited to campus (such as senior RCAs).
We will not accept additional applications from students in the Classes of 2021 and 2023; students in those classes who have concerns about housing insecurity should contact their Director of Student Life.
Students may be considered for Emergency Residency for the entire academic year, provided that they fall into one or more of the following categories (note that students who have already been approved for and accepted Emergency Residency for 2020-2021 do not need to re-apply):
- Students who are currently living in Emergency Shelter for the summer;
- Students who have been declared independent for the purposes of financial aid;
- Other students with high financial need and/or who have serious extenuating circumstances that make it impossible to secure alternative housing;
- Students who currently reside in graduate family housing. (All students currently living in graduate family housing may stay in their continuous accommodations, although we ask that you register formally through this process.)
Students in the Classes of 2022 and 2024 who meet the stated criteria should apply for Emergency Residency through their personalized link in TigerHub, which can be found on the Academic Tasks tile. Applications must be received by 5:00 pm on August 12, 2020. You may submit any questions about the process to firstname.lastname@example.org.
3a. When will I find out if I am approved?
Students who apply for Emergency Residency will be notified of their status by Friday, August 14. Approved students will participate in a room draw the following week.
3b. If I am approved for Emergency Residency, will I be able to stay on campus during the Winter Break?
Yes, students who are approved for Emergency Residency in the fall term will be able to stay on-campus throughout the entire academic year. Students will have an opportunity to register their intention to be on campus during the Winter Break and/or the spring term. Additional information about room and board costs for this period, as well as dining options, will be provided when it is available.
3c. If I am approved for Emergency Residency, where will I be housed?
A new room draw will be created for students in Emergency Residency, once we know how many students will be in residency on campus. Students approved for emergency residency can expect to remain in their rooms for the entire year. A limited number of rooms will be available in Spelman.
3d. What will the dining options be?
Additional details about dining will be forthcoming when available. For students on financial aid, the cost of the dining plan will be included in their aid budget.
3e. What will be open on campus for students in Emergency Residency?
At present, we cannot guarantee which, if any, campus facilities will be open for students who need to live on campus in Emergency Residency. Much of what will be available for students will be shaped by evolving public health guidelines, and so it is too soon to say for sure. However, students living on campus in Emergency Residency will not have access to academic buildings or resources that are not available to students who are learning remotely.
3f. What restrictions will be placed on students’ movement around and off-campus while living in Emergency Residency?
Students who are approved for Emergency Residency will need to sign a social contract about community expectations, and participate in relevant health assessment and testing protocols. Students will also be expected to limit all non-essential personal travel off-campus. Students are permitted to travel off-campus during the holidays and/or winter break, but must comply with all relevant guidelines for mandatory quarantine upon return.
3g. What is the cost for Emergency Residency?
Students in Emergency Residency will be charged at a $4,921 room rate and $2,750 board rate for the period ending December 16. Students will be charged the same tuition rate as all other students—$24,251. The fall financial aid budget for students in Emergency Residency will include these three direct charges, as well as a $1,750 allowance for books and personal expenses. For students approved for Emergency Residency, there will be no cost for accommodations during the winter break period. Costs for the spring semester will become available later in the semester.
4. Will my parent contribution be reduced this year along with the reduced tuition?
Your parent contribution will be based on a review of your 2020-21 aid application and supporting documents. If your family’s financial situation has changed as a result of COVID-19, you can upload an explanation in your financial aid portal. This information will be considered when we determine your parental contribution and may result in a reduction. The tuition reduction, however, will not impact these calculations.
Princeton’s financial aid program covers changes in tuition, which has historically been to the advantage of aid recipients as tuition has risen. In this extraordinary year, tuition has been reduced on a one-time basis due to the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Our aid packages will be calculated using this lower charge.
Students will, however, benefit from other changes related to the pandemic. For example, Princeton has waived the $3500 student contribution and has carefully constructed budgets for students living remotely when not invited to campus. Parental contributions may also be reduced if family resources have been impacted by the pandemic. These situations will be reviewed individually by the financial aid office.
5. Is there an expected student contribution for this year?
The University has waived the $3,500 student contribution for the 2020-21 academic year and replaced it with additional grant in your award.
6. When will I receive my fall semester aid award?
You will receive your fall semester aid award on Friday, August 14.
7. Will my parental contribution change from the fall to the spring semester? When will I receive a spring semester aid award?
Your parental contribution for the spring semester will be the same as the fall semester. Your financial aid budget, however, will be adjusted based on whether you are off campus or at home. We expect to release spring term aid packages in December 2020.
8. I’m a student who has independent status for financial aid purposes, how will my aid award be determined?
If you have been declared independent for the purposes of financial aid and have questions about your aid budget, please contact Silvia Rodriguez at email@example.com.
9. Will I be eligible for aid to cover the student health plan cost?
Regardless of your residential circumstances, if you certified through the MyUHS portal that you do not have comparable coverage, your financial aid award will be adjusted to cover the amount charged each semester for the SHP on your student account.
10. What happens if I have an outside scholarship?
Since the student contribution has been waived and replaced with additional University grant for 2020-21, outside scholarships will reduce your grant. If your Princeton grant is reduced as the result of an outside scholarship, you may recover reduced funds toward the purchase of a personal computer or other learning technology needs. For the 2020-21 academic year, we have increased the amount you are eligible to recover up to the maximum $3,500 former student contribution. This year we will also allow students who already purchased computers with such funding in a prior year to upgrade if they have a renewable outside scholarship in their current award.
11. I’m a first-year student who was notified that I am eligible for the move in allowance, will I still receive this allowance?
If you were previously notified you are eligible for the move in allowance, you will still receive these funds.
12. If I take a leave of absence, will my eligibility for aid be impacted upon return to Princeton?
Your aid application will receive full consideration upon your return to Princeton. Your eligibility will not be impacted by the fact that you have taken a leave.
13. What happens if I decide to withdraw after the start of the semester?
If you withdraw after the start of the semester, your tuition charge will be adjusted based on your withdrawal date. The specific percentage of tuition charge by date will be published in the Undergraduate Announcement. Your aid for tuition will be adjusted by the same percentage that the charge was reduced. Your aid for room, board and personal expenses will be prorated based on the date you notify your Dean of your intent to withdraw. If you received a refund from your student account prior to withdrawing, please be aware that you may owe all or a portion of that refund back to University.
14. What will I be charged on my Princeton student account for the fall semester?
You will be charged the reduced tuition, class dues, and if you are a first-year student, the transcript fee. The Student Health Plan will be included if you did not waive out of the plan on your MyUHS portal.
15. What if the grant aid I receive from Princeton exceeds the charges listed above?
If your aid for the semester exceeds your University charges, you may request a refund through Student Financials beginning August 31, the first day of the semester. If you have any carry forward charges from the 2019-20 academic year, these will first be deducted from the credit available.
Note: If you are an aid student with a zero parental contribution who has signed a lease, sublease, or Airbnb (or other third-party service) contract for an off-campus rental, you may be eligible to request an early release of a portion of the credit available. Please contact Kate Dolly at firstname.lastname@example.org after your aid decision is released.
The Office of Finance & Treasury strongly encourages students to enroll in direct deposit to ensure a timely release of available credit. To enroll in direct deposit, visit TigerHub and select the Personal Information tile for address changes and the Payroll tile to enroll in direct deposit.
16. What if I don’t have Internet access at home or at my off campus address?
The books and personal allowance in your aid budget has been increased by $450 in order to help with the cost of basic technology services, like Wi-Fi. For many families, this will reduce the amount due to Princeton, freeing up part of the parental contribution to cover this expense. For high-need students, this amount may be part of a credit available on your student account.
17. When will I be billed for the fall semester?
The undergraduate term bill has been delayed and is expected to be issued on or around September 1. Students and delegated parents/guardians will receive an email communication once the student account is ready for review. Students access their student account directly from TigerHub. Students must delegate parent/guardian access to view and pay their student account. Delegated parents/guardians can then view their student’s account from Princeton’s Tiger Family Hub by logging in with their claimed Princeton Network ID (NetID). For assistance in claiming your NetID, contact the OIT Support and Operations Center at (609) 258 – 4357.
18. When will the first bill be due?
The first bill will be due September 25.
19. Can I still enroll in the Monthly Payment Plan?
Yes. If you sign up for the MPP, there will be 4 payments for the fall semester balance and 5 payments for the spring semester.
21. What campus jobs will be available this fall?
Student employment for the fall term will likely be limited to exclusively remote work. For the most up-to-date information, please refer to the Student Employment website.
22. I don’t see a student contribution (or a job expectation) listed in my financial aid award. Does this mean I can’t pursue student employment opportunities?
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the University has eliminated the standard $3,500 student contribution in the financial aid award. While you are not expected to cover your books and personal expenses through a job, employment-eligible students are welcome to apply for open positions.