Seven-hundred and thirteen leaves of absence and deferrals have been approved for the upcoming academic year, with no students required to take more than one year off, according to a Tuesday memo from Dean of the College Jill Dolan sent to faculty members.
The University previously indicated that it might need to limit the number of students electing to take a single gap year or a one-year leave of absence due to “housing and enrollment constraints.”
Some students interviewed by The Daily Princetonian in early August said they wondered whether the University was employing a “scare tactic.”
University Deputy Spokesperson Michael Hotchkiss confirmed in a statement to the ‘Prince’ that every student who requested a leave of absence or deferral was granted a one-year leave.
Two-hundred seventeen first-year students were approved to defer their enrollment, around twice as many as in a normal year, according to Dolan’s memo. The current Class of 2024 class size is 1157, down from the “more typical” 1296.
Furthermore, 496 continuing students originally from the Classes of 2021, 2022, and 2023 have elected to take leaves of absence from their studies. Deputy University Spokesperson Mike Hotchkiss declined to comment on the class breakdown of the students taking leave.
Using 5,300 as a typical undergraduate size, Dolan wrote that the enrollment number for the 2020–21 academic year will be around 13 percent lower than usual.
First-year students approved for a one-year deferment will not be permitted to rescind that request, according to a past statement from Dean of Admission Karen Richardson ’93.
Dolan indicated that the Registrar’s office will be sending department chairs a list of all concentrators electing to take a leave.
“Students on LOA [leaves of absence] will be removed from our course rosters as soon as possible, which means your enrollment numbers should settle out by the week’s end,” she wrote.
Dolan permitted faculty members to stay in touch with those students as they wish, but asked that they do not “formally advise junior or senior independent work for students who are not enrolled,” citing “equity reasons.”
The University’s Time Away website contains updates and resources for students taking a leave of absence.