Yale meeting White House commitments to expand college opportunity

Six months after President Peter Salovey joined President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, and higher education leaders in a national effort to expand college opportunity, Yale is on track to meet all of its new commitments to promote college access.

Earlier this spring the Office of Undergraduate Admissions announced that the incoming freshman Class of 2018 includes more high-achieving low-income students than previous years.

“Our new outreach efforts to low-income high school students have certainly been successful in strengthening and diversifying our applicant pool,” said Jeremiah Quinlan, dean of undergraduate admissions. “Applications from lower-income students, who received our new financial aid postcard, grew at three times the rate of applications overall, and our Admissions Committee was thrilled with the strength of the applications we received from these students.” 

In January Yale made several new commitments to expand on its longstanding efforts on college access:

  • Yale committed to increasing the number of QuestBridge Finalists enrolling in the freshman class from 50-60 students to 75-80. The Class of 2018 includes a record 79 QuestBridge Finalists.
  • Yale committed to expanding its successful postcard campaign to high-achieving low-income students to 20,000 high school students. The first round of three updated and redesigned postcards was delivered in early July. 
  • Yale committed to sending over 300 Student Ambassadors (current undergraduate students) to their home communities to make presentations about Yale admissions and financial aid, reaching over 600 schools in 2014-2015. The 2013-2014 program set records for ambassador involvement and schools visited. Ambassadors visited 597 schools in 44 states between November 2013 and March 2014. 
  • Yale committed to continuing and expanding the Freshman Scholars at Yale (FSY) program for a cohort of incoming low-income first-generation freshman. The 35 students in the second FSY cohort began their five-week program in Morse College last week.
  • Yale committed to developing online course modules in pre-calculus for incoming freshmen. Twenty incoming freshman will be piloting a new program called Online Experiences for Yale Scholars (ONEXYS) this summer.
  • Yale committed to conducting joint outreach sessions with Harvard, Princeton, and the University of Virginia in fall 2014. Information sessions and counselor meetings have been planned for 18 cities in October 2014. 

“Yale is proud to be a leader in the nationwide effort to connect academically talented students from low-income backgrounds with college opportunities that match their abilities,” Quinlan said.

In addition to these public commitments to White House, Yale is promoting college access on campus and in the New Haven community this summer through partnerships with College Summit, New Haven Promise, and the EMERGE-HISD Program.

“We know that Yale’s impact on these important issues go far beyond the 5,400 undergraduates we enroll, or even the more than 30,000 students who apply.” Quinlan added. “We want to help students reach their college potential, wherever they ultimately attend college. Those students who apply to Yale can rest assured that Yale’s extraordinary financial aid policies will mean that no student will need to turn down a Yale education because of cost.”  

Yale has established one of the nation’s most generous need-based financial aid programs. It eliminates the expected contribution for families earning below $65,000 per year and significantly reduces it for those with annual incomes between $65,000 and $130,000. Yale also has eliminated loans from its financial aid package. The average annual grant from Yale to the more than 50% of students receiving financial aid exceeds $40,000, about two-thirds the cost of attendance; 84% of graduates in the Class of 2013 had zero loan debt on graduation day.

Quinlan noted that the incoming Class of 2018 is one of the most socio-economically diverse in Yale’s history. Nearly 14% of incoming freshmen will be the first in their families to earn a bachelor’s degree.

Caesar Storlazzi, director of financial aid, reports that 16% of the U.S. citizens and permanent residents in the class qualified for the federal need-based Pell-Grant program and “130 freshmen, or close to 10%, of incoming Yale freshmen, qualify for a $0 parental contribution. In other words, their families are not asked to contribute anything for tuition, room & board, books, or personal expenses.”

Prospective students and families can use Yale’s Net Price Calculator to estimate their Yale Financial Aid award.