Dean of the College Memo to Faculty on Undergraduate Leaves of Absence, Deferrals and Enrollments

Tuesday, Aug 18, 2020

Dean of the College Jill Dolan sent the following memo to Princeton faculty with an update about undergraduates who have been approved to take leaves of absences and/or defer their admission. 

TO: All Faculty

FROM: Jill Dolan, Dean of the College

RE: Fall 2020 Leaves of Absence, Deferrals, and Enrollments

Colleagues, as promised, I write with the results of the recent round of requests for leaves of absence (LOA) from continuing undergraduate students and requests for deferrals from the Class of ’24. We’ve approved 217 first-year students to defer their enrollment, which includes just about twice as many as we’d expect to see in any given year. The current class now sits at 1157, down from the more typical 1296.

In addition, 496 continuing students elected to take leaves of absence from their studies. All those who deferred or took a leave have been approved to return to (or arrive on) campus in fall 2021, after one year.

All this means that our usual undergraduate population is down by 713 students. Using 5,300 as a typical enrollment number indicates that 2020-21 will be ~13% lower.

Later today, my colleagues in the Registrar’s office will send department chairs a list of concentrators electing a leave. Students on LOA will be removed from our course rosters as soon as possible, which means your enrollment numbers should settle out by the week’s end. Do feel free to stay in touch with these students as you wish but, for equity reasons, we ask that you not to formally advise junior or senior independent work for students who are not enrolled.

Allow me to thank my colleagues in Admission and Financial Aid, the residential colleges, and the Registrar’s office, whose intensive advising and processing efforts helped our students make difficult decisions about whether to postpone their enrollment or begin and continue their studies.

Thanks, too, to those of you who wrote to students enrolled in your courses about how you’ll be teaching this fall. I heard from many of you and found myself excited by your warm outreach to students and by your creative ideas for handling your classes.

Finally, we’ve received a number of inquiries about how an instructor can virtually open their course to interested students during the add-drop period at the start of the term. Detailed instructions for how to provide guest access through Blackboard or Canvas are posted on the McGraw Center website.

As the start of the fall term approaches, please don’t hesitate to ask if you have any questions (or suggestions) at all about course enrollments, teaching, advising, or other issues. Our students are eager to meet you all and to restart their studies in your courses.

Many thanks and warm best,

Jill Dolan