The University announced this week that it will expand its financial aid commitment to the Outdoor Action (OA) and Community Action (CA) programs. Starting this fall, the cost of these freshman pre-orientation programs — $460 for Outdoor Action and $200 for Community Action last year — will be covered for all freshmen on financial aid.
"We wanted to make sure that the programs could be available to all members of the Class of 2011, and that the financial element is not a barrier," University spokeswoman Cass Cliatt '96 said.
In the past, the Financial Aid Office and the Outdoor Action program provided a limited amount of aid to pay for the program's costs. "It wasn't actually enough to cover everyone who was getting financial aid," Outdoor Action director Rick Curtis '79 said.
OA has organized various fundraisers each year to subsidize as many students as possible and to fund all of its programs. The Writathon campaign in December was part of a fundraising drive last year that raised over $40,000.
"We funded as much as our budget would allow," OA leader Caroline Chopko '07 said. But, she added, "there have been certain students who were discouraged from participating in the OA program for financial reasons."
In 2006, Curtis learned that "the funds we were getting from the financial aid office weren't going to be available in the future."
But after talks with President Tilghman, Vice President for Campus Life Janet Dickerson and Financial Aid director Robin Moscato, the University decided to fully subsidize the costs for students on financial aid.
"We're hoping that this funding will free up our budget for the training of OA leaders," said Lauren Tracey '08, a member of the OA leader training committee. The program also plans to increase the number and variety of trips and activities throughout the year, she added. One example is enhancing the climbing wall facility.
Curtis expects some increase in the number of OA participants next year. "I think we'll see the numbers go up somewhat because we know anecdotally of people who have said, 'I didn't sign up because it was too expensive,' " he said.
Last year, about 580 freshmen attended OA, 120 attended CA and 350 did neither. It was the first year that students who had signed up for OA were put on a waitlist due to a limited number of trip leaders.
Curtis is not worried about the predicted increase in participants this year, however, since "we have one of the largest numbers of people going through the leader training program [this year]."
Current OA leaders voiced the need to ensure that freshman orientation programs are available to as many incoming students as possible.
"We really want to make the program open to everyone," Tracey said. "I think it's a really great experience, a great orientation for freshmen ... and an important part of Princeton tradition."
Curtis agreed: "One of the things that both programs do is bring people together who often wouldn't meet each other. They're great in terms of making connections."
CA coordinators could not be reached for comment.
Reader Comments (0)
No comments yet. Be the first to post your opinion on this article.