Financial aid policies to expand for third consecutive year

Enhancements in financial aid will benefit students whose families earn less than $65,000 annually.

For a third consecutive year, Yale has announced enhancements to its undergraduate need-based financial aid program that will benefit students from families with high financial need.

For several years Yale has not required parents earning less than $65,000 annually — with typical assets — to make any contribution toward the cost of a child’s education. Beginning in the 2018-2019 academic year, students from those same families will also receive free hospitalization insurance coverage ($2,332 annually) and an additional reduction in Student Effort, beyond reductions announced in 2015 that set the summer income contribution for these students 35% lower than for others receiving financial aid.

In 2016 Yale announced that all students with this high level of financial need would receive a $2,000 startup grant in their first-year, and $600 supplements in subsequent years.  

More than 200 first-year students who arrived on campus this fall qualified for the new $2,000 start-up grant, designed to assist with purchasing a computer, winter clothing, and other expenses. All these students had a chance to meet with Yale’s new Director of Undergraduate Financial Aid Scott Wallace-Juedes at a special meeting held during first-year orientation in August. 

We know that the cost of a Yale education extends beyond just the cost of tuition,” said Wallace-Juedes. “The new start-up grants ensure that our students with the greatest financial need have what they need to succeed inside and outside the classroom. By adding insurance coverage, the university is furthering its extraordinary commitment to making the Yale experience affordable for everyone.”

Provost Ben Polak announced the new enhancements in financial aid. Polak has regularly convened almost a dozen senior Yale officials to review Yale’s financial aid policies and propose improvements to President Peter Salovey. Since 2015 the group has connected with current students, members of the Yale College Council, and Yale’s financial aid professionals to identify areas of financial aid policy for enrichment. As a result of these conversations, the group has proposed and implemented numerous enhancements to Yale’s generous need-based financial aid awards.

Polak also announced that, for the third consecutive year, Student Effort levels for students receiving financial aid will not increase, even as Yale’s financial aid budget has expanded. In 2015 Yale reduced Student Effort levels for all students receiving financial aid, with a 15% reduction in the summer income contribution.

Dean of Undergraduate Admissions and Financial Aid Jeremiah Quinlan also praised the recent enhancements. “In less than two years, Yale’s senior leaders have identified and approved more than a half-dozen specific policy initiatives to supplement Yale’s already-generous need-based aid policies, which together represent an additional annual investment of more than $5 million for undergraduate financial aid. These meaningful changes have already helped our current Yale students and will enhance Yale’s ability to attract top students from all socio-economic backgrounds.”

With the opening of Benjamin Franklin and Pauli Murray Colleges, Yale’s undergraduate student enrollment will increase 15% by 2020. Dean Quinlan explained that Yale’s commitment to admit, enroll, and support more students from lower socio-economic backgrounds will continue as the college expands. The first-year class of 2021 includes almost 100 more students eligible for federal Pell Grants than the Class of 2017.

University Director of Financial Aid Caesar Storlazzi said “More than 50 years ago Yale became the first private research university in America to establish need-blind admissions and need-based financial aid. Since then, making a Yale education affordable for every student admitted has been one of our core principles. The series of recent financial aid enhancements, combined with the expansion of the student body, make a Yale education even more accessible to more students.”

In the current academic year Yale will spend almost $145 million on undergraduate financial aid. The average Yale scholarship is $49,575, and more than half of Yale students receive financial aid from the university. Since 2008, Yale has not required students or families to take out loans to meet their demonstrated financial need and more than 85% of students who graduated in the Class of 2017 left Yale with zero loan debt.

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