New for high school students: A way to calculate the cost of a Yale education

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(Photo by Michael Marsland)

A high school student wondering how much it would cost to attend Yale College can get an estimate by spending 10 minutes online using Yale’s new “Net Price Calculator.”

All the student needs to get a first look at a financial aid package from Yale is an Internet connection and the primary information, financial and otherwise, that Yale uses to calculate financial need.

“Is Yale affordable? That’s the question we are trying to answer with the calculator, “ said Caesar Storlazzi, director of financial aid.

The calculator, developed by the Yale Student Financial Services office, cannot capture all the information that financial aid officers use to evaluate financial need, but Storlazzi said it should provide a good starting place for a conversation about financing a Yale education. Using the calculator requires basic information including parents’ income and savings and whether the student will have a sibling in college. Prospective students who go on to apply for financial aid will receive their actual award offer from Yale, if they are eligible for one, when they are admitted.

“We wanted to strike a balance between the accuracy of the result and the simplicity of the questions that we ask,” Storlazzi said of the calculator’s design. The calculator is intended for U.S. citizens, permanent residents and international students whose parents live and work in the United States.

None of the information submitted by a student or the student’s family in using the calculator is shared with Storlazzi’s office, which only learns how many people are using the calculator and where they are from. Anyone using the calculator, however, may print out the results, which include the estimated net cost for the student and the amount of financial aid, and speak with Storlazzi’s office about the figures, and any other concerns they may have about financial aid, such as what would happen if a student’s parent loses a job.

Storlazzi’s office receives numerous calls about financial aid, particularly near application deadlines and in the summer months. The calls are fielded by financial aid staff who, he said, “understand customer service as well as the intricacies of needs analysis.”

Yale College admits all students without regard to their ability to pay for their education and provides 100% of students’ demonstrated need. The financial aid policies reflect the University’s philosophy that students should not have to take out loans to attend Yale College. The college’s annual financial aid budget is about $117 million, and 57% of all undergraduates receive aid. The average scholarship grant to these students from Yale is more than $36,000, or two-thirds of the cost of attendance, which includes allowances for books and personal expenses.

A Yale student’s financial aid award can change along with the student’s economic circumstances.

“Yale is a unique institution in that we have the ability to react to changes immediately,” Storlazzi said. “We promise to fund 100% of demonstrated need, even if that need should increase during the year.”

The calculation of financial aid is a complicated process, notes Storlazzi, but the Net Price Calculator allows prospective students to get a general sense of a school’s affordability and financial aid resources before applying.

Storlazzi had no such easy-to-use resource when he was a high school senior applying to college. “I ended up filling out the financial aid applications for my parents,” he recalls. “I think a financial aid officer was born.”

The Yale online calculator can be accessed at

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