New outreach effort to high school students from low-income families

In an effort to reach out to low-income students who may not consider applying to Yale due to a misperception of its cost, the Office of Undergraduate Admissions has launched a new educational campaign to inform low-income families about the affordability of a Yale College education.

On June 12, the Yale Office of Undergraduate Admissions sent a tailored mailing to 16,000 high-achieving rising high school seniors who are members of low-income families. The postcard (left) shows the low cost of Yale for students on financial aid by highlighting:

  • that parents earning $65,000 or less are not asked to make any monetary contribution to the cost of their child’s Yale education;
  • the $15,857 average yearly net price — including tuition, room and board, and books -  for Yale College for all students receiving financial aid; and
  • a new website where families can compare Yale’s net price to the average net price paid by students receiving financial aid who attend a public university in their home state.

Recent research by Caroline Hoxby and Christopher Avery demonstrates that a significant number of academically qualified low-income students fail to apply to selective private and public institutions, in part, because they believe such schools are not affordable. Instead, these students “under match” in their search for a college.

 “The research shows clearly that under-resourced students and their parents wildly overestimate the actual cost of attending college, whether it’s at Yale or another selective private college or university,” said Jeremiah Quinlan, dean of undergraduate admissions. “We hope to undercut this trend by providing an apples-to-apples comparison of Yale’s net price to what a student is likely to pay in-state.

"For most students and families in the United States, Yale is more affordable than a public university,” Quinlan said. “It’s critical that these talented students understand that their high aspirations are feasible. We hope to provide them with information that will lead to the best array of choices from among private and public colleges.”

Yale will send another mailing to the same 16,000 students later this summer that will include instructions for applying to Yale and obtaining a fee waiver.

The mailing directs students to a college pricing website found at: admissions.yale.edu/price. The website also brings students to simple information on how to apply for admission using a fee waiver, and to Yale’s easy-to-use Net Price Calculator, which generates a sample financial aid award based on a family’s financial information and Yale’s current financial aid policies.

The mailing is directed at two groups of high achieving low-income students: 

  • Rising high school seniors who live in lower-income neighborhoods who have performed exceptionally well on the PSAT or ACT.
  • Rising high school seniors who have applied for a QuestBridge College Prep Scholarship.

Yale’s partnership with QuestBridge, a national non-profit organization that connects low-income students with top colleges and universities, is entering its seventh year this summer. In addition to serving as one of 35 partner colleges who accept applications from QuestBridge Finalists, Yale hosts a QuestBridge summer conference on campus to assist under-resourced students with the process of applying to selective colleges. This coming fall, Yale will have more than 190 students on campus who were Questbridge Finalists.  

The mailing campaign is one of the Yale Office of Undergraduate Admissions’ many efforts to reach out to students from low-income households, including the Student Ambassador Program. Every year admissions officers train over 200 current Yale students to visit more than 400 high schools in 39 states. These Yale Ambassadors serve as “near to peer” advisors, connecting students in high schools with high numbers of low-income students with information about the Yale experience while dispelling myths about accessibility and cost.

Yale College admits students for their academic and personal promise without regard to their ability to pay. Concern about cost should not keep students from applying, as Yale College meets 100% of students’ demonstrated need. Approximately 55% of Yale undergraduates receive financial aid from Yale, none of which is in the form of a loan.