Grad apps increase nearly 24 percent, enrollment up slightly

Princeton NJ -- Applications for admission to Princeton's Graduate School rose 23.8 percent this year, while the number admitted remained about the same as last year.

The school received 9,009 applications, compared to 7,279 last year. A total of 1,157 students were admitted slightly fewer than last year but preliminary estimates indicate acceptances have climbed for a total of 566 new graduate students this year. That figure is up a bit from last year's total of 546 new students. The University registrar's office will publish official opening enrollment statistics in early October.

William Russel, dean of the Graduate School, attributes the increase in applications in part to the downturn in the economy and the popularity of online application forms. He noted that as the economy sputters, enrollment traditionally increases with students who head to graduate schools to make themselves more marketable.

The online application form has been available at Princeton since 1999. In the first year, 1,126 students applied electronically, representing only 17.4 percent of applicants. This year, the number filing online forms at Princeton increased to 6,512 (72.3 percent of applicants).

Russel also noted that Princeton continues to attract many top-notch graduate students by complementing the distinction of the departments with highly competitive fellowship support. In 2001, the University's trustees approved new funding programs for Ph.D. students. First-year fellowships are now offered to all entering students in sciences and engineering, and summer stipends for all years of study are available to students in the humanities and social sciences. The University provides full financial assistance to virtually all research doctoral candidates for the normal period of enrollment.

"The faculty and the departments have accepted and recruited a talented cohort of students," Russel said. "We in the Graduate School look forward to working with them as they grow into active and original scholars and contribute to the University community in a multitude of ways."

The incoming students include 404 pursuing doctoral degrees and 142 seeking master's degrees. There also are about 20 visiting and exchange students.

The new students are enrolled in 40 departments and programs across the University, with 52 percent of the students in architecture, the humanities and social sciences and 48 percent in the sciences and engineering.

Preliminary figures show that 39 percent of the new cohort are international students, who hail from 57 countries. A total of 41 percent of the new students are women and 11.7 percent are from minority backgrounds.

Overall, the Graduate School anticipates registering a total of 2,014 graduate students for the 2002-03 academic year, an increase of 4.7 percent over last year.

"This enrollment increase is fully accounted for by the new master's programs in finance, public policy and engineering, plus planned growth in the Ph.D. programs in economics, politics and sociology," Russel said.

The breakdowns by discipline for all graduate students mirror those of the new cohort. Russel said that 70 percent of the enrolled graduate students will live in University housing. This year, the housing office ultimately was able to accommodate all incoming students who applied.

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