Undergraduate Student FAQs

Last update to page: Sept. 20, 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.

Teaching and Learning

Will there be any in-person undergraduate instruction on campus?

No. Princeton will not offer in-person undergraduate instruction in fall 2020. This decision was announced in President’s Eisgruber’s Aug. 7 letter and remains in place following New Jersey’s Aug. 13 executive order related to higher education institutions and K-12 schools in the state. Based on the restrictions still in place in New Jersey, we do not believe it would be responsible to change our posture for the upcoming semester.

Who is required to sign the social contract?

All undergraduate students who have been approved to live on campus or have been approved to study on campus or come to campus to participate in ROTC must sign the social contract. Resident graduate students (RGSs) living in residential colleges must also sign the social contract. Students can log-in to sign the social contract

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

We continue to anticipate that a small number of undergraduate courses that required in-person components will be canceled. The decision to have undergraduate education be fully remote in fall 2020 was announced in President’s Eisgruber’s Aug. 7 letter. This decision remains in place following New Jersey’s Aug. 13 executive order related to higher education institutions and K-12 schools in the state. Based on the restrictions still in place in New Jersey, we do not believe it would be responsible to change our posture for the upcoming semester.

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.

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 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.

If you are not approved to be on campus, you may only access the Library's resources online. More information about remote services is available on the Princeton University Library website

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. 

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

All students should carefully review the new deadlines and procedures Labyrinth Books has established for Fall 2020 course books.  The window for ordering books opens on Saturday, August 15, which will allow Labyrinth to process the orders and mail them to students studying remotely in a timely fashion. They recommend students order as many books as they know they will need in a single order early in the order window, especially for students who will have to quarantine upon arrival or who will need books shipped. For information on in-town order delivery & pickup as well as some FAQ’s, please click here

To get your course books shipped to you from Labyrinth Books, you will need to provide your mailing address when prompted to do so on the Coursebook Checkout page. We do anticipate some delays in forwarding mail and in course book delivery, particularly for international addresses, due to increased regulations from U.S. Customs and volume of shipments.

 

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.

How do I try out a course in the add/drop period during the first two weeks of classes?

We advise instructors to make their course websites available to students who have not enrolled in them in the add/drop period during the first two weeks of classes. In addition to the course website, you may also be given access to Zoom class sessions. Please note that instructors will determine what course content and instructional materials to make available to non-enrolled students.

In Blackboard:

To access Blackboard courses in which you are not enrolled, log in with your Princeton NetID on the Blackboard login page. Once in, use the Course Search or Course Catalog feature on the landing page. More information can be found in this Knowledge Base Article.

In Canvas:

To access Canvas courses in which you are not enrolled, log in to Canvas with your NetID. In the left-hand navigation bar click on Courses, then All Courses, and then click Browse More Courses. That will bring up the list of courses that are open for non-enrolled Princeton students to access.

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 room and board charges for students studying remotely.

More information about room and board for emergency shelter students will be available in the coming days.

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 is available on the 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 Sunday, Aug. 16 at 5 p.m. ET, 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.

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.

Questions About Leaves of Absence

I did not request a leave earlier this summer, but my circumstances have changed and now I want to take a leave; what should I do?

Students considering a leave should reach out to their residential college dean. Students submitting a leave request after August 17 are not guaranteed a return date of fall 2021, but we expect to review the matter again in December in light of the total number of fall leaves requested. We should be able to confirm a return date for students by the end of December. 

What University services and programs do I have access to while I am on leave?

All students on leave retain their Princeton NetID and have access to their college advising staff, if they have pressing questions or concerns. The Center for Career Development is offering virtual advising, events, guides, Handshake and other resources to students on leave, with some limits with regard to specific programs, recruiting and career fairs.

Other than these resources, however, students on leave do not have access to other University programs and services; they may not represent themselves as a currently enrolled Princeton University student, or participate in campus organizations, activities or remote resources, nor utilize any services limited to members of the Princeton University community.

I took a leave of absence for the 2020–21 year and have been guaranteed a one-year leave; will I be eligible to participate in Princeton-sponsored programs and receive summer funding from Princeton in summer 2021, if I qualify for it?

For students who deferred participation in an already confirmed Princeton summer program because it was canceled, and who then took a leave for this academic year, if that program is offered in the summer of 2021 and you wish to participate, you will have priority.

Students who remained enrolled for the 2020-21 academic year will have priority for Princeton-sponsored optional summer programs and the Princeton funding available to them. Students who took a leave of absence for the 2020-21 year may apply for these opportunities, but they will have a lower priority than students who did not take a leave.

Fall 2020 General Questions

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.

Will there be any in-person undergraduate instruction on campus?

No. Princeton will not offer in-person undergraduate instruction in fall 2020. This decision was announced in President’s Eisgruber’s Aug. 7 letter and remains in place following New Jersey’s Aug. 13 executive order related to higher education institutions and K-12 schools in the state. Based on the restrictions still in place in New Jersey, we do not believe it would be responsible to change our posture for the upcoming semester.

I had stored my items on campus last spring. What are my options if I’m not returning to campus in the fall?

More information is available on the Housing website FAQs under "Storage." 

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.

Will the University reimburse families for already booked travel expenses?

The University has been clear throughout the summer that plans for the fall semester were subject to change based on the course of the pandemic and resulting public health guidelines.  We will not provide reimbursements for airfare booked, hotel rooms reserved, or other travel expenses related to the previously anticipated return of students to campus.

How do I ensure that my mail and course materials are sent to my correct address for the fall?

First Class Mail Forwarding: In order to get your first class mail forwarded, please make sure to do two things:

1. Log in to TigerHub and enter or confirm your fall semester physical location address. This address is the address that the University will use for mailing purposes during the fall semester. If your address changes during the semester, you may change it at any time.

2. Complete the Academic Year Sign-In process on August 24; you will also be required to enter this address at that time.

Course Books from Labyrinth Books: To get your course books shipped to you from Labyrinth Books, you will need to provide your mailing address when prompted to do so on the Coursebook Checkout page.

We do anticipate some delays in forwarding mail and in course book delivery, particularly for international addresses, due to increased regulations from U.S. Customs and volume of shipments.

Other Course Materials: Some courses will mail kits with course materials directly to students. If the course instructor or academic department reaches out, please confirm your address. If not, the department will use the address you provide at Academic Year Sign-In to send you the materials.

How can I watch the virtual Town Hall about the decision to move to all-remote undergraduate education?

Dean of the College Jill Dolan and Vice President for Campus Life Rochelle Calhoun held virtual Town Halls to answer undergraduates and families follow up questions about fall 2020. A recording of the Aug. 12 Town Hall webinar for families is now available for those who could not attend live. Families were also able to submit questions off screen during the Town Hall and a copy of those questions and answers is now available for reference. 

The Undergraduate Student Government, which hosted the Aug. 11 Town Hall for undergraduates, emailed notes from the Town Hall directly to students. The USG's notes are also available online. You must have a Princeton University Net ID in order to access the USG's notes

Will I still be able to access resources and advising from the Center for Career Development if I am learning remotely?

Yes, students can still access virtual advising, experiential opportunities, programs, guides, recruiting and other resources. Learn more on the Center for Career Development's website.

Please note that there are some select opportunities that are not available to students on leaves of absence, in particular campus recruiting interviews and career fairs, and some events with limited participation. For specific questions, check with a Center for Career Development adviser.

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. 

The decision to have undergraduate education be fully remote in fall 2020 was announced in President’s Eisgruber’s Aug. 7 letter. This decision remains in place following New Jersey’s Aug. 13 executive order related to higher education institutions and K-12 schools in the state. Based on the restrictions still in place in New Jersey, we do not believe it would be responsible to change our posture for the upcoming semester.

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