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Financial Aid FAQ outlines three student budget plans for fall 2020

Fall 2020 Expenses.png
Harsimran Makkad / The Daily Princetonian

With around half of students invited back to campus, the University will be offering three different student budget plans this fall based on whether a student is living on campus, at home, or elsewhere. 

On July 10, the University released a list of 26 Financial Aid Frequently Asked Questions explaining how the system will work. Whether on campus, at home, or elsewhere, an undergraduate education will cost less than it did last fall. 


Tuition will be reduced by 10 percent, a notable deduction when compared to Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s decision to maintain their tuition rates and the University of Pennsylvania’s 3.9 percent tuition increase. Pro-rated room and board charges will be applied to the on-campus budget, and the University has waived the $3,500 student contribution for the 2020–21 academic year.

Although expected parent contributions remain unchanged, the University says it will provide resources to students whose financial situations have been affected by COVID-19.

“If a family’s financial situation has worsened as a result of COVID-19, this information will be considered when we determine the parental contribution,” Undergraduate Financial Aid Director Robin Moscato wrote in an email to The Daily Princetonian.

Families should contact the Financial Aid Office to explain their circumstances. The financial aid FAQ also asks students to update their financial aid portals by uploading an explanation of their family’s financial situation.

“Since Princeton’s financial aid packages are grants, not loans, any reduction in the family share is reflected in an increased grant,” Moscato explained. 

Vice President for Campus Life Rochelle Calhoun has also offered an emergency fund with a $500 limit to be distributed to students “based on the urgency of need, level of hardship, and a student’s overall financial situation.” 


Moscato detailed other changes to financial aid packages in her communication with the ‘Prince.’

“Students will, however, automatically benefit from other changes related to the pandemic,” Moscato wrote. “For example, Princeton has waived the $3500 student contribution and has carefully constructed budgets for students living remotely when not invited to campus.” 

The elimination of the student contribution means that outside scholarships will now immediately reduce the University grant for 2020–21. However, students can recover up to $3,500 of the reduced funds, a new maximum, for the purchase of a personal computer or other necessary technology.

The University has included allowances for living costs and books and personal expenses that vary with each budget. Students on campus will receive $1,850, and students living at home or off campus will receive $2,200. 

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The books and personal expenses allowance includes funds for internet access for all aid students. A round trip travel allowance will be added for on-campus students living more than 200 miles from the University. In addition, the full cost of the Student Health Plan will be covered for all aid students who have certified through the MyUHS portal that they do not have comparable coverage.

Financial aid packages will also be released much later than in previous years.

“Aid packages and University bills, normally available by July, have been pushed back to August,” Moscato explained in an email to all undergraduate students on July 10. 

The fall term bill is scheduled for release around the beginning of September and will be due by Sept. 25, reducing the monthly payment plan period for the fall 2020 semester from five months to four months. During that time, students whose aid exceeds their University charges can request a refund, according to the financial aid FAQ.

Although students will not be expected to pay for personal expenses through employment, the University is still committed to offering remote and on-campus job opportunities, the financial aid FAQ says. The Student Employment Office has indicated that they will provide “detailed guidance” for the fall 2020 term by early August.

According to the Undergraduate Admissions website, the University will review the spring 2021 cost of attendance in December. More information and updates about financial aid can be found on the Financial Aid FAQ and the Fees and Payment Options pages on the Undergraduate Admissions website.

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