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A Guide to Financial Aid & Scholarships for Princeton Students

Grants, Student Loans, & Fellowships

If you are serious about going to Princeton University, don’t let the cost of attendance hold you back! The newly designed financial aid program at Princeton will amaze you. Since 2001, Princeton provides a need-based financial aid package for students like you, regardless of your financial background. Whether your annual family income is $60,000 or $100,000+ Princeton works with you to obtain the best financial aid package . . . without the student loans!

To offer Princeton’s need-based aid some things are required of you and your parents. First and foremost, you will most likely have to get a part-time job. Why? Part of the Princeton financial aid package requires a student contribution, and most financial aid packages include a campus-job so you can earn money to contribute to your college expenses. Summer employment earnings also count towards student contribution.

Secondly, your parents will be asked to contribute towards college expenses, too. The parent’s contribution is determined by the information provided on your application information and your annual family income. Next, both contributions are added up to determine your family expected contribution. Once that is determined, Princeton takes the cost of attendance and subtracts the overall contributions and gets your financial aid award amount.

As a result, your financial aid package may include any or all of the following: grant funds, campus employment, or outside scholarships and awards.

Kinds of Aid Offered to Princeton Students

At Princeton, you will find there are three types of financial aid: grant funds, campus jobs, and outside scholarships and awards. To be considered for financial aid, it is important to apply by February 1 of the year you plan to attend college. The Princeton financial aid application (PFAA) is available online for your convenience.

Grant funds are need-based grants (also known as gift aid, and scholarships) which derive from university endowment funds, annual gift donations, and federal and state programs.

Campus jobs are part-time employment opportunities where you can earn money to help pay for your college expenses. Campus jobs are one portion of your financial aid package. In most cases, you work about 7.5 hours per week during the academic year.

Outside scholarships and awards are other “free money” opportunities you may qualify for. It is your responsibility to apply separately for outside awards. Organizations like National Merit, the United Negro College Fund, and the Council for International Exchange of Scholars offer scholarships. If you receive any outside scholarships or awards, you must report them to Princeton’s financial aid office. One of the benefits of outside awards is that it reduces your student earnings portion of your financial aid package. And, if you have funds leftover, you may use those funds to purchase a personal computer or other educational expense.

Are you planning to go to graduate school? If so, you may qualify for a number of fellowships/scholarships Princeton has to offer. Fellowships/scholarships are “free money” you receive for postgraduate study. With these fellowships you are offered unique opportunities, such as the chance to study abroad, internships, research assistance, and more. Be sure to speak to graduate school staff to find out what opportunities are available to you. Some examples of fellowships at Princeton include Churchill Scholarship, Hertz Fellowship, and Marshall Scholarships.

Loans Options for Princeton Students

Although you do not receive loans as part of your financial aid package, you can still apply for them. Princeton offers need-based loans and non need-based loans. If you would like to be considered for loans, you must fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

If you feel the need to replace all or part of your student earnings requirement in your aid package, need-based loans are the way to go. Some loans to consider are Federal Perkins Loan, and the Federal Subsidized Stafford Student Loan. If all federal need-based loans are exhausted, then you may apply for the Princeton Subsidized Student Loan.

Princeton also offers non need-based loans. If needed, these loans can replace your parent’s contribution portion of your aid package. Examples of non need-based loans are the Federal Unsubsidized Stafford Student Loan, and the Princeton Unsubsidized Student Loan. There is also the New Jersey College Loans to Assist State Students (NJCLASS) program to consider. This is an educational loan that can replace your parent’s contribution portion of your aid package. You must be creditworthy or have a cosigner for this loan.

And finally, you can look into alternative loans if all else fails. These loans should be sought as a last resort. The terms with private loans typically offer higher interest rates and unfavorable terms compared to federal and university loans.

Princeton also offers three parent loan options: Federal PLUS Loan—a credit-based loan, NJCLASS (for parents) Loan—for creditworthy parents, and the Princeton Parent Loan Program (PPL)—in which parents borrow the family’s share of school costs and make monthly payments for up to 14 years. Aid and non-aid families are eligible for these loans.

Key Points to Remember about Princeton Financial Aid

  • Princeton no longer offers student loans in their financial aid package. Be sure to look into all possible grant funds, campus jobs, and outside awards to help pay for your college education.
  • Seek outside scholarships to reduce your student contribution portion of your financial aid package. Anything leftover can be a bonus…and used for other much needed educational tools.
  • If you still need to take out a loan, federal and university loans should be your first choice. These loans provide low interest rates and favorable terms. Only consider private loans as a last resort.

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