Memo to International Students from Dean Jill Dolan 8/7/20

Friday, Aug 7, 2020

As President Eisgruber announced today, all fall 2020 undergraduate instruction will now be remote.  This means that first-years and juniors won’t be in residence on campus as originally planned.  The realities of the pandemic, and the impacts here in New Jersey, have kept us from being able to provide a meaningful on-campus experience this fall.  This enormously difficult decision is meant to protect the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff. 

Many of the questions you may have about the impact of this decision can be found in our list of Frequently Asked Questions. 

I write to say that we know this has been an especially stressful time for international students, as you’ve managed the uncertainties of frequently changing ICE guidelines and the added constraints and pressures of thinking about securing visas to travel to campus.  We so appreciate your patience and resilience as we’ve navigated the complicated, intersecting landscapes of public health protocols and immigration guidance. 

Despite the fact that teaching and learning will be remote for all Princeton undergraduates this fall, we’re committed to ensuring that all students are able to learn effectively regardless of where they live and study.  We hope this information will be useful to you: 

  • The Office of Financial Aid 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.  For a timely release of any available refund, students who have not already done so should sign up for direct deposit.  More information on setting up direct deposit can be found on the Finance and Treasury website.  If you encounter difficulties, please contact the Financial Service Center at  For questions regarding financial aid, please contact  

  • 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. 

  • The Office of Information Technology has compiled a list of Frequently Asked Questions about the many resources available to assist students to obtain the hardware, software, and internet access necessary to conduct their studies from anywhere in the world.  If you need technological assistance, please complete this brief Student Technology Needs Assessment Survey.  A staff committee will review your needs and make sure they’re addressed quickly and fully.  

  • For international students who meet the criteria for Emergency Residency, the application process has been reopened for students who did not have an opportunity to apply previously.  To qualify for Emergency Residency, students must have high financial need and/or serious extenuating circumstances that make it impossible to secure alternative housing off campus, either in the U.S. or abroad.  Because no courses will be offered in-person this fall, residency on campus will not meet the requirement for “in-person” instruction and will not be available for first-year international students or those returning from a leave of absence.  Please consult the Office of Financial Aid Fall 2020 FAQs for the latest information about the Emergency Residency application process.  

  • While we hope you will be able to persist in your Princeton education, we understand that some students may want to discuss a leave of absence or (for first-years) an enrollment deferral.  Students in the Classes of 2023, 2022, and 2021 should contact their residential college dean immediately if you are considering a leave; those in the Class of 2024 should contact Alex Bustin in the Office of Admission if they are considering an enrollment deferral. 

The Davis International Center will soon send you important immigration-related information; please look out for their communication and read it carefully.  They will also arrange online information sessions for international students next week.  Any of your advising questions should be addressed to your faculty adviser, residential college dean or director of studies, or to your director of undergraduate studies. 

International students are a vital and valued part of our Princeton undergraduate community.  We look forward to welcoming you all to campus as soon as possible, even if it’s not yet clear when that will be.  Know that you’ll be with us virtually, along with every member of the Princeton undergraduate community.  I’m so deeply sorry for how this pandemic has changed all of our lives.  Please stay well and stay safe. 


With my very best wishes, 
Dean Jill Dolan