Corp. will discuss financial aid

The Yale Corporation is expected to discuss the current state of undergraduate financial aid and finalize proposals for the University’s 2006 operating budget at its meeting this weekend, which begins in the wake of weeks of protests for more generous financial aid programs and a more transparent policy for the hiring of women and graduate scholars.

Though the University’s highest decision-making body traditionally keeps its agenda secret, graduate students said they will be meeting with Corporation members to discuss issues of diversity in hiring practices particularly with women in science.

Yale College Dean Peter Salovey said he will not play a significant role in this weekend’s meeting but suspects the agenda will include discussions on financial aid.

The 2004-2005 financial aid budget for all four undergraduate classes will be about $48 million, a more than 10-percent increase from the 2003-2004 undergraduate financial aid budget, Yale Director of Financial Aid Myra Smith said. Smith said the University does not set budget expectations for financial aid because rewards depend on the number of students admitted to the University each year.

“The increase in the aid budget has been due to moderate increases in self help and increased numbers of students on aid,” Smith said.

Corporation fellow Janet Yellen GRD ’71 said last week that she had not yet had an opportunity to participate in discussions over possible changes to undergraduate financial aid, which Yale President Richard Levin said include possible alterations in the self-help and parent-contribution portions of aid.

The University is facing increased pressure for financial aid changes, as Levin’s Thursday night dinner with Corporation members coincided with a student sit-in at the undergraduate admissions office, which resulted in the citation of 15 students who refused to leave the building until Levin promised financial aid changes.

“We hope Levin and the Corporation will seize the moment for passing reform,” said one of the students, Josh Eidelson ’06, in a phone interview from inside the locked-down admissions office.

Levin said in an interview late Thursday night that the demonstration did not disrupt his agenda with Corporation members.

During their visit to New Haven this weekend, Corporation members will also host the executive board of the Graduate and Professional Student Senate for a luncheon today to discuss concerns over faculty diversity, said Joel Zeiner DIV ’05 who is vice president of the graduate and professional student senate.

“It seems like the Corporation is interested in hearing what the student body’s up to,” Zeiner said. “I think this is just fantastic.”

Corporation fellow Len Baker ’64 said last week that the Corporation has been concerned with improving faculty diversity for a long time.

“I think the University is working hard on these issues and has been for a long time,” Baker said. “The Corporation has been concerned about that for a very long time, well before GESO decided to make an issue out of it for their own purpose.”

The weekend will also include a presentation of plans for the 2006 budget, which Corporation members are expected to approve in their spring meeting, Hamilton said. Yale is facing an increase in utilities costs and a larger student financial aid budget due to the makeup of the class of 2008, Hamilton said, but he otherwise expects the budget to follow the University’s earlier predictions.

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