Looking to the Future

As significant as Princeton University's contributions to the growth and the vitality of the Princeton area and New Jersey economies have been, they could be even greater during the next five to 10 years.  Several factors likely to contribute to the continued growth of the University's economic impact are: growth in enrollment, growth in University research, and increased investment in University facilities.  The framework for this campus evolution will be the Campus Plan for 2017-2026, scheduled to be complete in 2017.

Growth in enrollment

Princeton students in classroom

Photo by Sameer A. Kahn

The University's strategic planning framework, released in January 2016, sets a goal of increasing undergraduate enrollment by 500 students.  The document also anticipates continued incremental growth in graduate student enrollment.

Enrollment growth will reinforce the University's economic impact in several ways.  It will increase the number of undergraduates and graduate students coming to Princeton each year and the number who earn degrees.  increase enrollment is likely to translate into an increase in the University's operating expenditures, which will also have a positive impact on the region's economy, and on New Jersey's.  It will also lead to an increase in off-campus spending by Princeton students.

Growth in University research

Researchers in white protective gear working in a clean room

Photo by Danielle Alio

Although the outlook for federal funding of university research remains uncertain, Princeton is well-positioned to maintain the growth of its research programs. Princeton’s financial strength is such that, more than most institutions, it can supplement sponsored research funding from its own resources. Internally generated funds can directly help to sustain research spending – and perhaps even more important, selective use of these funds can enhance Princeton’s ability to compete more effectively for federal research funds.

Beyond the leverage provided by its internal financial strength, Princeton can also benefit from the fact that some of its strongest research programs are well-aligned with national needs in areas such as energy and the environment, molecular biology, computer science, neuroscience and national security.

Increased investment in University facilities

Construction underway for new Lewis Center for the Arts

Photo by Denise Applewhite

The University expects to invest approximately $1 billion in renovation and new construction from fiscal year 2016 through fiscal year 2020. Planned construction spending could, however, increase significantly beyond that estimate when the University’s 2026 Campus Plan is completed. In addition to the Arts and Transit Neighborhood, scheduled to be completed in 2017, major projects under consideration include a new residential college (to accommodate undergraduate enrollment growth), new graduate student housing, an expansion of the engineering school and improved space for environmental studies. 

These investments will create new business opportunities for New Jersey companies in construction and related industries, and will directly support hundreds of full-time-equivalent jobs every year. Even more important, they will enhance the University’s long-term capacity to fulfill its mission of education, research, innovation and service to the community.