Thanks to You

The generosity of alumni, parents, and friends are essential to the University’s ability to provide an extraordinary education. Gifts to Princeton create scholarships, endow professorships, provide financial aid, establish new centers of discovery, fund all aspects of teaching and learning and ensure that unrestricted dollars are available to meet emerging needs.

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The Impact of Giving on Princeton’s Academic Programs

“Excellence cannot be bought, but it must be paid for,” pointed out Nobel laureate Val Fitch, James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor of Physics Emeritus. Sustaining the high quality of Princeton’s academic programs not only includes attracting and retaining the best students and faculty, it also requires providing comprehensive support for teaching and learning. This ranges from maintaining world-class libraries to keeping up with the latest technology needed for cutting-edge research on the frontiers of knowledge.

Professor Curtis Callan with graduate student The Impact of Giving on Princeton’s Faculty

Princeton students benefit from an exceptionally low student-faculty ratio of 5 to 1. This makes it possible for them to learn from faculty members who are not only world-class scholars and researchers, but also dedicated teachers committed to working closely with students at all levels, from freshmen seminars to senior theses to graduate work. The ability to provide support for these exceptionally talented people and to recognize the most accomplished among them with endowed professorships is crucial to recruiting and sustaining the very best faculty for the University.

The Impact of Giving on Student Life

The Princeton experience includes residential facilities that promote vibrant communities, health services that keep students in top form, and extracurricular opportunities that encourage personal development, from athletics to cultural events to volunteer programs. In order to offer the best possible education, the University is constantly renewing and reinvigorating the elements that make it an inspiring place to live and learn.

The Impact of Giving on Princeton’s Campus

Gifts from alumni, family, and friends contribute in incalculable ways to Princeton's beautiful campus. Capital gifts fund academic and residential buildings that combine architectural distinction with state-of-the-art settings for teaching, learning, and living, while older facilities require continuing maintenance and renovation to meet changing needs. Unrestricted gifts permit allocation of funds for both upkeep and enhancement of all elements of the physical plant, from grounds and gardens to labs and libraries.

Class of 2016The Impact of Giving on Financial Aid

The University is committed to making a Princeton education available to all admitted students, regardless of their financial circumstances. Its generous aid program provides 100 percent of the determined financial need in the form of grants, so that students will not be burdened with loans to pay back after graduation. Funding for undergraduate financial aid comes from endowed scholarship funds, Annual Giving, and other forms of current-use support. The availability of unrestricted funds makes it possible for Princeton to respond flexibly and promptly to increased financial need.

The promising scholars pursuing advanced degrees in the Graduate School also require financial support to allow them to focus on their studies and reach their full potential. They receive fellowships, which allow them to concentrate on their studies, assist faculty members with their research, mentor undergraduates, and make vital contributions to the intellectual life of Princeton.

The Impact of Giving on Princeton’s Budget

Donations to the University include gifts to the endowment, capital gifts, and gifts for current use, such as contributions to Annual Giving. The difference that gifts from alumni, parents, and friends make in the University’s overall financial picture provide what is often described as Princeton’s “margin of excellence;” in 2019-20 unrestricted gifts provided nearly 10 percent of the University's overall budget. Together, gifts and income generated by the endowment provided more than half the annual operating budget of $2.3 billion.

Income and Expenditures 2019-20

Income (in thousands)
Endowment payout and other investment income   60%   $1,399,400
Student fees   17%   $408,091
Sponsored research   16%   $363,814
Gifts   2%   $52,831
Auxiliary activities and service income   5%   $109,739
Expenditures (in thousands)
Academic departments   33%   $779,027
Physical facilities   27%   $624,470
Student aid   15%   $342,384
Administrative services   11%   $268,286
Library/Computing/Museum   7%   $157,768
Princeton Plasma Physics Lab   5%   $120,000
Athletics   2%   $41,940