Undergraduate students can return to Princeton University campus for one semester

People walk through Princeton University's campus on a sunny day.

Even though most of Princeton University’s classes will remain virtual, undergraduates can choose to return to campus for one semester in the 2020-21 academic year.

The administration joined fellow Ivy League schools Harvard University and Yale University in rolling out upcoming semester plans, after announcing new guidelines for incoming and returning students on July 6.

According to the university, when the fall semester arrives freshmen and junior students are permitted to return to campus if they choose to do so. Sophomores and seniors would be able to come back to campus for the spring semester.

“Because the living and teaching arrangements for Princeton’s graduate programs accommodate social distancing more easily than does our undergraduate program, we will invite all of our graduate students to campus,” President Christopher Eisgruber said in a prepared statement. “Graduate level courses and graduate advising may occur in person or virtually, depending on the decisions of individual graduate programs. We have already begun a phased restart to our research enterprise.”

The administration has also approved a 10% cut towards tuition. Tuition was set to be about $54,000 for the upcoming year, but the decision resulted in a new tuition rate of $48,500 for 2020-21, according to the statement.

Along with the tuition discount, Princeton will also not charge for athletic and activities fees; have room and board charges pro-rated for students departing the campus at Thanksgiving break; and offer only one meal plan in the fall for undergraduate students, according to the statement.

“We expect to begin the fall semester two days earlier than previously announced, on Aug. 31; we will convert the fall break to a long weekend; and we will ask all students to leave campus before Thanksgiving,” Eisgruber added. “The fall reading period and examinations will be fully remote. We will likewise abbreviate spring break, making it a long weekend to reduce travel during the second semester.”

Students choosing to be on campus will be tested when they arrive and regularly, according to the statement. In addition, undergraduates will also be required to sign a social contract agreeing to follow healthy and safety guideline set by the university.

In addition to the guidelines for students returning, a decision about athletics has not yet been announced as the Princeton Tigers await a final decision from the Council of Ivy League Presidents.