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Despite efforts to increase undergraduate enrollment by accepting more first-years, the University registrar reports record low numbers at the start of the fall semester. Administrators have determined the root cause to be students’ decisions to remain abroad following their summer breaks.
Former member of the Class of 2025, Lawsto Verses explained via Zoom, “We were in Europe for the summer learning about philosophy or something random like that and I realized they actually, like, pay livable wages here. Like I can live more comfortably on a German minimum wage than I will ever be able to in the US with my psychology degree.”
Other students have expressed similar thoughts. Trie Hohger, after only completing one year at Princeton, described Indonesia through smoke signals such as “the most beautiful place I’d ever seen,” and “I could either spend my time in a place like this or in the disgusting sh**hole of suburban New Jersey. Like what kind of motherf***** would want to spend their sorry life there when they could be literally anywhere else in the f****** world?”
In addition to the affordability and circumstance of not being in New Jersey, those choosing not to return to campus also cite toilet stalls that reach the ground, cockroach-free housing, and a lack of DUO Mobile among their reasons to remain abroad.
This unprecedented exodus leaves the university with a difficult choice. If administrators want to maintain the size of the undergraduate student body and, more importantly, the resulting income from tuition, there are only two options. They must either raise the acceptance rate to an embarrassingly high 5% or 6% or address student concerns and make campus a more enjoyable, practical, healthy, and accessible place to live. Clearly, the university is stuck between a rock and a hard place; only time will tell how they get themselves out of this pickle.
Lauren Owens ’25 studied abroad this summer.