Yale Cuts Costs for Families and Students

Yale University President Richard C. Levin announced today that Yale is reducing the average cost of sending a student to Yale College by over 50% for families with financial need. This new policy will apply to all students returning to campus in the fall as well as entering freshmen. This represents the largest increase in spending for financial aid in the University’s history.

The reduction in costs will be spread across a broad range of incomes. Families with incomes below $120,000 will see their contributions cut by more than 50%, while most families with incomes between $120,000 and $200,000 will see cost reductions of 33% or more.

Families earning less than $60,000 annually will not make any contribution toward the cost of a child’s education, and families earning $60,000 to $120,000 will typically contribute from 1% to 10% of total family income. The contribution of aided families earning above $120,000 will average 10% of income.

Yale also is increasing the number of families who qualify for aid, eliminating the need for students to take loans, enhancing its grants to families with more than one child attending college, exempting the first $200,000 of family assets from the assessment of need, and increasing expense allowances for foreign students during school vacation periods. Yale calculates financial aid by taking into consideration a family’s total income and assets, family size and number of children in college, family medical bills, state of residence, and a number of other factors.

The combined changes will increase Yale’s financial aid budget by more than $24 million, to over $80 million annually. Yale also announced that it would hold its increase in tuition, room, and board charges in 2008-2009 to the expected level of consumer price inflation, 2.2%.

“Yale should be a college of choice for the very best and brightest students from across America and around the world, regardless of financial circumstances. We want all of our students to make the most of Yale – academically and beyond – without worrying about excessive work hours or debt. Our new financial aid package makes this aspiration a reality,” said Levin.

Building on a Yale tradition

In 1966, Yale was the first private research university in the United States to establish need-blind admissions, where candidates are evaluated for admission without regard to financial need. Yale also committed at the same time to meet the full demonstrated financial need of every U.S. student who was admitted. Yale awards no merit scholarships and no athletic scholarships – all financial aid is based solely on demonstrated need. For over four decades, Yale has not wavered from this commitment. In 2001 it extended this policy to foreign students, and it has increased aid numerous times to reduce the financial burden of a Yale education. Three years ago, Yale exempted families with less than $45,000 in income from making a financial contribution to the cost of attendance.

As grants to families increase dramatically, students also will see the amount they are expected to contribute from their own earnings fall sharply, from the current rate of $4,400 to $2,500 per year. Students may earn that amount by working on campus for about seven hours a week, eliminating the need to take loans or to work excessive hours.

Additionally, Yale will increase the adjustment for families with additional children attending college and add to the allowance already given to international students to help them with expenses when school closes for vacations.

To increase transparency, the University is building an online calculator to provide families with a way of estimating net cost of attendance. By this summer Yale will have a web tool for helping families make an initial estimate of their expected contributions.

Here are some examples:

Examples of Parental and Student Annual Contributions
  Case A Case B Case C
Parents’ Income $60,000 $90,000 $180,000
Parents’ Assets $100,000 $150,000 $200,000
Parents’ Contribution:
One child in college
   New policy 0 $2,950 $23,050
   Old policy $4,450 $12,550 $38,150
Parents’ Contribution:
Two children in college
   New policy 0 $1,500 $11,650
   Old policy $2,750 $7,350 $22,300
Student’s Contribution      
   New policy $2,500 $2,500 $2,500
   Old policy $4,400 $4,400 $4,400

Financial aid improvements have not been the only component of Yale’s efforts to increase access for students from families of limited or modest means. As part of its nationwide outreach, the undergraduate admissions office now sends over 100 Yale students as outreach ambassadors each year to high schools around the country with large numbers of economically disadvantaged students. Yale also has entered into partnerships with non-profit organizations such as Questbridge and College Summit to assist high performing lower-income students in understanding their college options and achieving their aspirations. Questbridge is a national non-profit program matching high-achieving lower-income students with many of the country’s most selective colleges; College Summit is a national non-profit program that assists students from disadvantaged school districts with the college application process.

Peter Salovey, Dean of Yale College said, “For the past few years, our committees on financial aid have hosted discussions with a broad range of student groups, and we have listened closely to the specific appeals and comments of Yale families as we have also researched broader trends. The attention given by student leaders in the Yale College Council to issues surrounding access and diversity has been commendable and helpful.”

Yale’s administrators and trustees continue to consider other uses of the university’s resources to expand access, including the possible expansion of the size of Yale’s undergraduate student body. Additionally, Yale will make more of its intellectual treasury available without charge to the public. Yale recently launched Open Yale Courses, which placed the full content of a group of popular undergraduate courses online for free.

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Media Contact

Helaine Klasky: helaine.klasky@yale.edu, 203-432-1345