Undergraduate Student FAQs

Last update to page: Aug. 7, 2020

The information here represents the University’s current understanding and approach.  Please understand that it is subject to change, as we are dealing with an extremely fluid situation.  Please continue to monitor information distributed by the University in the coming weeks.

Decision to Move to All-Remote Learning

Will the academic calendar change again?

No, the calendar will not change again. Faculty approved on July 27 the updated academic calendar for 2020-21. You should plan that the fall term will start on Monday, August 31.

Given the decision to change to all-remote learning, I want to discuss taking a leave; what should I do?

Members of the classes of 2023, 2022 and 2021 who wish to discuss taking a leave should reach out to their residential college dean. We will do our best to accommodate one-year leave requests. Students who wish to request a leave of absence should submit the Leave of Absence form by August 12th  (the deadline has been extended in light of today’s decision).

We will let students know whether their request for a one-year leave is approved as soon as possible.

Members of the Class of 2024 who wish to request a deferral of their enrollment, and who have not done so already, should contact the Office of Admission at uaoffice@princeton.edu by midnight on August 12. Students seeking advice about postponing their studies should contact their residential college director of studies.  We will do our best to accommodate additional one-year deferral requests.

We know many students and families are concerned about their requests for leaves and enrollment deferrals, as they fear they won’t be able to return to or begin on campus in fall 2021 as they desire.  Do know we’ll do everything we can to bring all students who take a leave or defer enrollment to campus in fall 2021.  We’ll make these determinations as soon as possible after the August 12 request deadline.  We anticipate that students who learn that they must take a two-year leave or enrollment deferral would be able to rescind their request.

I am a senior who was invited back to campus due to the need for in-person research; am I allowed back on campus?

Yes. The small number of seniors who received prior approval to come to campus for the fall semester to do in-person thesis research are still invited to return to campus. They will be required to sign the Social Contract.

Will seniors and sophomores be able to come to campus in the spring?

We cannot make a decision at this point about the spring semester.

Do I need to do anything to cancel the housing contract I signed?

No. All current student contracts will be automatically cancelled. There will be a modified room selection process for students approved for Emergency Residency on Wednesday, August 19th and Thursday, August 20th.

Health and Safety

Will I have access to University Health Services, including Counseling and Psychological Services, if I am learning remotely?

Yes. Telehealth services will be available to all students, those in residence and those learning remotely. Please consult the University Health Services site for more information.

Teaching and Learning

What can I expect from a course taught online?

Online course work will include a number of different activities: watching lectures (live or on video), participating in break-out room discussions, conducting simulated labs, submitting assignments online, participating in peer or partner assignments, and taking quizzes and exams online. Creating interactive digital sites or taking virtual field trips, might also be possible, as appropriate.

Will the McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning be operating in the fall?

The McGraw Center will continue to offer academic support online (as in the spring semester). Tutoring (both individual and group) will be held via Zoom, using both the screen-share and whiteboard functions to allow collaboration and writing equations / drawing schematics as needed. Making an appointment will guarantee time with a tutor, but students will also be able to drop-in and join if space is available. Learning consultations will also be offered virtually, largely over Zoom, although students may opt for a different platform (in consultation with the learning consultant). Workshops will also be offered virtually with live components held over Zoom.

Will I be able to use the Writing Center in the fall even if I am learning remotely?

The Writing Center will continue to offer conferences virtually. The Writing Center scheduler, WCOnline, contains a built-in video conferencing function for one-on-one and group conferencing with a shared whiteboard and document uploading capacity. In addition to the usual 50- and 80-minute appointments, the Writing Center will continue offering drop-in Zoom-based Writing Labs, which offer students the opportunity to write alongside peers and access shorter-form consultations with Fellows.

What are the grading policies for courses in the fall 2020 term?

Students will be able to elect the P/D/F option for all undergraduate courses and faculty will be able to designate courses as P/D/F only.  Departments may, however, require students to take departmental pre-requisites and/or departmental requirements for a grade. Any course that students elect to P/D/F will not count against the student’s total allocation of four P/D/F courses.  The deadline for electing to P/D/F a graded course or drop a course will be the ninth week of classes.  

What is the grading policy for independent research (junior paper and senior thesis)?

Departments will generally require regular grades for independent work. Deadlines for independent work will revert to the regular University and departmental deadlines.

Will I be able to conduct research? How will I complete my junior independent work and senior thesis if I am not on campus?

Departments are working to revise and restructure their independent work requirements so that students can continue to make progress on these research projects while learning remotely.  Please contact your department for specific details.

Will I be able to access the Princeton library if I am not on campus?

As described on the Remote Support page, many library collections and services are easily accessible from any location, and you can also consult with librarians online. The Off Campus Access page describes how to use virtual private networking to access library subscriptions. On the Library Catalog, you can search for materials available online; if you find an item that is available only in print format, you can request digitization for email delivery. Please Ask Us for assistance.

I currently have learning accommodation needs that I will require as I learn remotely. What should I do?

Contact the Office of Disability Services about how to access your accommodations while learning remotely. 

Will there be any in-person courses on campus?

No. For the reasons detailed in President’s Eisgruber’s letter, we will not offer any in-person instruction.

Will the change to all-remote teaching affect which courses are offered? How will I adjust my schedule?

We anticipate that a small number of courses that required in-person components will be canceled. We will update Courses Offerings as we get this information, and we are extending the drop/add period to Wednesday, August 12th.

Students will also be able to change their schedules during the first two weeks of classes.

How will I get my course books if I am not on campus?

Students can order course books through Labyrinth Books starting in mid-August.  Shipping to out-of-town addresses will be free for up to two orders.  Visit Labyrinth Books for more details.

I will be learning remotely in a time zone very different from Princeton’s; how will I be able to do this?

We continue to work with faculty to accommodate the needs of students in different time zones.  In some ways, the move to all-remote instruction makes this work easier.  If you have questions about your courses, please contact your residential college dean or director of studies.

Financial Matters

Will Princeton’s financial aid program be affected by the economic situation resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic?

The University remains committed to ensuring that a Princeton education is affordable for every student even at this time of economic uncertainty.  As Provost Deborah Prentice said, “Given the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting economic challenges, we expect that more of our students will need financial aid and that many students will need additional aid. We are committed to increasing the University’s financial aid budget to meet these needs so a Princeton education remains affordable for all students.” 

Additional information and a detailed Financial Aid FAQ is available on the Office of Financial Aid website.

My family’s financial situation has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. We can no longer meet our family contribution. What should we do?

If your family’s financial circumstances have changed, please contact the Financial Aid office at faoffice@princeton.edu.

Do I need to enroll in direct deposit to receive payments from Princeton for student employment, SAFE funding, student account refunds or other transactions?

The best way to ensure that students receive payments from the University quickly and securely is by enrolling in direct deposit with a US-based savings or checking account. See the “Direct Deposit” section on the Finance and Treasury website for more details. Students who don’t enroll in direct deposit will be mailed a paper check in US dollars.

Will there be any changes to the costs of attendance?

No. The 10% tuition reduction will remain in place but there will be no further alterations to the costs of attendance. There will be no charges for room and board.

How does the change to all remote learning impact my financial aid award?

The Undergraduate Financial Aid Office will release individual aid awards on August 14th. For students who receive grant aid that exceeds University charges for the fall semester, a refund can be requested through Student Financials beginning on the first day of classes.  In order for a timely release of any available refund, students who have not already done so must sign up for direct deposit.  More information on setting up direct deposit can be found on the Finance and Treasury website.

There will be two financial aid budgets, one for students learning from their permanent residence, and one for students who have arranged an alternate residence (not on campus) for the fall. Students who are applying for an off-campus budget will need to provide a signed lease in order to receive the off-campus budget.

More information will be available soon on an updated Financial Aid FAQ.

I will learn from my current residence, but I do not have the necessary hardware or software to learn effectively; what should I do?

The Office of Information Technology has developed a list of Frequently Asked Questions that outlines the resources available to assist students with the technology needed to complete their Princeton courses.  We invite all students who need help securing appropriate technology to complete a Student Technology Needs Assessment survey by Friday, August 14th, to which we’ll respond quickly and fully with the necessary assistance.

I am an international student who does not have necessary hardware or software to learn effectively; what should I do?

While international students have access to all of the resources outlined in the Office of Information Technology’s list of Frequently Asked Questions, they may have additional needs and face additional challenges. We invite all international students to complete an Student Technology Needs Assessment   so that the Technology Access committee can assess your needs and make sure we address them before the start of classes.

I am currently living in Emergency Shelter on campus and was permitted to remain for Emergency Residency in the fall. Will I still move to my pre-assigned room this weekend?

The small number of students currently living in Emergency Shelter should remain in their current rooms for now.  More information about fall room contracts and room selection will be forthcoming soon.

I was granted Emergency Residency on campus for the coming year; will I still be able to live on campus?

Yes. The small number of students who have already been granted Emergency Residency will still be allowed to live on campus. If you are in this category, please check your email for more information. Students in Emergency Residency will be required to sign the Social Contract.

I meet the criteria for Emergency Residency but, since I was invited back to campus, I did not apply earlier; what should I do?

The Emergency Residency application is now open for students in the classes of 2022 and 2024. You may access this application under Academic Tasks in TigerHub. The application is due at 5pm on Wednesday, August 12th.  Decisions will be available on Friday, August 14th.  The Emergency Residency application process for students in the classes of 2021 and 2023 has now concluded. Students in these classes with concerns should contact their Director of Student Life.

Student Athletes

Will there be a fall athletic season in 2020?

With the safety and well-being of students as their highest priority, Ivy League institutions are implementing campus-wide policies including restrictions on student and staff travel, requirements for social distancing, limits on group gatherings, and regulations for visitors to campus. As athletics is expected to operate consistent with campus policies, it will not be possible for Ivy League teams to participate in intercollegiate athletics competition prior to the end of the fall semester. Visit the Princeton Athletics website for more information and FAQs for returning athletes and incoming athletes.

In response to the Ivy League decision regarding Fall athletics, Mollie Marcoux Samaan '91, Ford Family Director of Athletics, made the following statement

I am a student-athlete; how will this affect my eligibility?

Given the need to accommodate both NCAA and Ivy League regulations, student-athletes should be sure to discuss their plans with their coaches and with Athletic administrators before finalizing their decision with their residential college deans.

International Students

I am an international student; how will this decision affect me?

International students in the classes of 2023, 2022, and 2021 who are not returning from a leave will be impacted by this decision in exactly the same way as U.S.- based students.

International students in the class of 2024, and students from any other class returning from a leave, will NOT be eligible to continue the visa process or travel to the U.S, as there will be no in-person courses available.

Please refer to Dean Dolan’s August 7th letter to international students, and to the Davis International Center communications, for more information.

I will be learning remotely in a time zone very different from Princeton’s; how will I be able to do this?

We continue to work with faculty to accommodate the needs of students in different time zones.  In some ways, the move to all-remote instruction makes this work easier.  If you have questions about your courses, please contact your residential college dean or director of studies.

Transfer Students and Veterans

Who should I contact if I am a new or continuing transfer student/ veteran and I have questions related to my status?

Please reach out to Dr. Keith Shaw, Director of Transfer, Veteran and Non-Traditional Student Programs, at kmshaw@princeton.edu