Sep 8, 2022 - Economy & Business

Princeton to cover all student costs for most families earning up to $100,000

The Princeton University campus as seen on Feb. 4, 2020, in Princeton, N.J. Photo: William Thomas Cain via Getty Images

Princeton University announced Thursday an expansion of its financial aid program that will allow most students from families earning up to $100,000 to pay nothing to attend the Ivy League college.

Why it matters: Costs for higher education have risen dramatically in the past decade, a concern critics say won't be solved by President Biden's student loan forgiveness plan. American universities and colleges have faced mounting pressure to lower tuition rates, especially amid the pandemic.

Details: Tuition, room and board will be covered for most families who have an annual income less than $100,000 — up from the previous $65,000 threshold, according to Princeton.

  • The move is expected to benefit roughly 1,500 students — over 25% of the undergraduate student body.
  • Many families with income above $100,000 will benefit from additional aid, including those with multiple children in higher education, the college said.
  • A majority of additional scholarship funding will go to students from families that earn less than $150,000.

Worth noting: The total cost to attend Princeton for one year — including tuition, meals, housing and other miscellaneous expenses — is around $80,000.

  • Without financial aid, families have to pay roughly $320,000 for four years of education.
  • The university's endowment topped $37 billion last year.

What they're saying: "One of Princeton’s defining values is our commitment to ensure that talented students from all backgrounds can not only afford a Princeton education but can flourish on our campus and in the world beyond it," Princeton President Christopher L. Eisgruber said in a statement.

  • "These improvements to our aid packages ... will enhance the experiences of students during their time at Princeton and their choices and impact after they graduate."

Yes, but: Sandy Baum, an economist at the Urban Institute, told the Washington Post the new effort won't "change the world" in the grand scheme of soaring college costs.

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