Starting in the fall of 2023, Princeton University will be free for students who fit into the specific income bracket. The New Jersey school announced the new “groundbreaking” financial aid program on Thursday and said it will cover a quarter of its students.
“One of Princeton’s defining values is our commitment to ensure that talented students from all backgrounds can not only afford a Princeton education but can flourish on our campus and in the world beyond it,” President Christopher L. Eisgruber said. “These improvements to our aid packages, made possible by the sustained generosity of our alumni and friends, will enhance the experiences of students during their time at Princeton and their choices and impact after they graduate.”
Attending Princeton costs nearly $80,000 a year with more than $57,000 of that going to tuition alone, according to the university’s website. Princeton also announced in its statement that students from families who make up to $150,000 will have their costs cut down to just $12,500 a year.
In 2001, Princeton became the first university to stop using student loans in its financial aid package; instead, replacing them with grants, so students would not graduate with debt, according to Insider. Other Ivy League schools Harvard and Yale followed Princeton’s lead and also eliminated student loans.
The university’s alumni include former first lady Michelle Obama, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. Former Presidents Woodrow Wilson and James Madison also graduated from the school, which is the fourth-oldest in the U.S.
Princeton came under scrutiny earlier this year after it was accused of overlooking its free speech rule to attack a professor who wrote an article criticizing the faculty’s racially-based demands, The Daily Wire reported. Last year, the university announced it would no longer require students to learn Latin or Greek and “added a track in race and identity.”
Princeton’s enhanced financial aid program comes just weeks after President Joe Biden forgave billions of dollars in student loans. Biden’s cancellation of $10,000 in student loans for borrowers making under $125,000 and $20,000 for those with Pell Grants is estimated to cost $298 billion in 2022 alone and a total of $329 billion by 2031 if the policy is renewed each year, according to a nonpartisan analysis from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School.
Ben Zeisloft contributed to this report.