In compiling its rankings Kiplinger states that it compares such factors as colleges’ admission rates, the test scores of incoming freshmen, and four- and five-year graduation rates. It also incorporates cost data, including tuition, fees, room and board and financial aid. The average debt that students accrue from borrowing for college is also considered.
“Our top private university needs no introduction,” Kiplinger wrote. “ Yale heads our ranking for the second consecutive year. Yale meets 100% of need and extends need-based aid to families earning as much as $200,000 per year.”
Yale College’s generous undergraduate need-based financial aid program ensures that all students admitted to Yale can afford to attend, without needing to borrow money. No family with an annual income of $65,000 or less has to pay anything to Yale for the total cost of a student’s education, including tuition, room and board, books, and personal expenses. Fifty years ago Yale became America’s first research university to practice “need-blind” admissions. A family’s ability to pay will never negatively affect a student’s chances of being admitted.
Among current undergraduates, 53% receive Yale financial aid, and the average annual grant to the students is over $40,000. The average annual net cost of attending Yale for these students is only $15,435.
Yale College financial aid awards do not include loans. The entire cost of attendance is met with Yale Scholarship grants, opportunities to work on campus, and the expected family contribution. Those Yale College students who do choose to borrow accrue very little debt compared to the average student in the United States. Only 16% of Yale students who graduated in 2013 had borrowed, and their average debt was $13,009. Nationally about 66% of graduating college seniors had borrowed money, with an average debt of $26,600.
Yale engages in extensive outreach to make more students from low-income families aware of Yale’s affordability. Recently a group of Yale students discussed what Yale’s transformative financial aid has meant for them and their families.
Kiplinger also noted that Yale recently announced that it had received the largest gift in its history — $250 million from alumnus Charles Johnson — to help pay for an expansion of Yale College through the construction of two new residential colleges. The expansion will allow Yale College to offer an education to 15% more students within its highly regarded residential college system.