Surpassing our goal for Access Yale

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Members of the Yale College Class of 2020 at the Freshman Assembly. (Photo by Michael Marsland)

The following is a message to the Yale community from President Peter Salovey.

As we embark on a new academic year, I want to highlight an important milestone for the university: the successful completion in June of Access Yale, a two-year fundraising initiative for financial aid. Supporting students across Yale College, the Graduate School, and the 12 professional schools, Access Yale was an effort to raise $250 million in new endowment and current use funds. I am grateful to announce that when the initiative closed on June 30, the fundraising total reached more than $285.8 million.

This outpouring of support from alumni, parents, and friends underscores the generosity that is the hallmark of the Yale community, along with our shared commitment to opening the world’s best educational opportunities to all.

One of the themes I return to again and again is the idea that Yale is the research university most proudly focused on its students. We see this in the excellence and diversity of our student body and in our deep commitment to providing them the very best teachers and mentors. We invest in their education continually, always striving to improve what we offer as courses, international experiences, research opportunities, extracurricular activities, advising, career placement, and campus life.

But no investment is more foundational than our commitment to financial aid. For over 50 years, we have sustained and expanded a financial aid policy in Yale College ensuring that any student admitted to our undergraduate program can afford to study here, regardless of their financial means. Our pledge is to meet 100% of demonstrated financial need for all undergraduate students, without requiring families to take out loans. In 2016–2017, Yale will provide scholarships to 51% of undergraduates, with an average award of $46,200. And for families with incomes below $65,000, we provide sufficient aid that parents are required to make no financial contribution toward their child’s Yale education.

Robust financial aid funding supports initiatives to bring more first-generation and low-income college students into each freshman class. This year, 15% of students in the Class of 2020 are first-generation, up from 12% in the Class of 2017. More than 200 freshmen are eligible for federal Pell grants for low-income students, a number representing 18% of U.S. citizens and permanent residents in the Class of 2020, up from 13% in the Class of 2017. Fifty-two of these students will receive a new Yale College Start-up Fund through a $2 million undergraduate financial aid initiative announced last December.

Our commitment to graduate and professional students is also strong. In the Graduate School, we provide grants and stipends meeting the full costs of doctoral study — approximately $335,000 over a typical six-year course of study — and in the professional schools, where many students have loan debt, we are offering an increasing number of merit- and need-based scholarships to help reduce debt on graduation.

The success of Access Yale is a ringing endorsement of both Yale’s students and our financial aid policies. Across the two years, 44,240 alumni, parents, and friends contributed to this special initiative. To all of you, thank you for your generous support.

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