USAY financial aid forum fails to attract interest

Just a little more than a month after a dramatic shift in Yale’s financial aid policy, not a single person other than organizers showed up for Saturday afternoon’s Parents’ Weekend Conversation on Financial Aid Reform.

United Students at Yale, the fledgling student union, organized the meeting to reassess student opinion after the administration’s recent financial aid changes. Yale’s new financial aid plan, which goes into effect next school year, reduces the amount typical students on financial aid must contribute to their education by $13,780 over four years.

“It was supposed to be a planning meeting, open to but not intended for parents,” organizer Julianna Bentes ’04 said. “We were anticipating that it be primarily students.”

But no one showed up. Organizers attributed the poor turnout to bad timing.

“2 p.m. on a Saturday during Parents’ Weekend was not the right time to have a meeting,” organizer Abbey Hudson ’03 said. “Plus, I don’t think it was well publicized at all.”

Last spring, the Yale College Council passed a set of 15 recommendations on financial aid reform at Yale to present to the administration.

The proposed resolution, written by Hudson, was radical, far-reaching and expensive. It recommended a replacement of student loans with grants, an increase in summer earnings waivers to four per student, a replacement of the work-study component of self-help with grants and the formation of a committee on financial aid composed of students and administrators with equal representation and decision-making power.

“The resolution was never formally responded to,” Hudson said.

Saturday’s meeting was supposed to determine whether or not students felt the administration had done enough in terms of financial aid reform since most of the YCC’s recommendations were not put in place. Hudson said she believes that the administration should do more to eliminate student debt.

Organizers have tentatively rescheduled the meeting for Thursday at 8 p.m.

“The ball is back in the students’ court,” Hudson said.

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