Re: Gift campaign goes for broke (Feb. 5): I am a senior, who happily donated my five dollars to the Senior Class Gift. I am not insensitive to class dynamics at Yale — financial aid covers the vast majority of my tuition, and I have opted for paid summer jobs over more desirable unpaid positions for the past two summers. At times, I’ve even found myself more stressed about finances than friends — both those whose families can easily afford tuition at Yale and those whose entire tuitions are covered by financial aid — reflecting the ways in which Yale’s financial aid system puts undue strain on middle-class students.
The argument in the News by Chandler Coggins ’10 that the Senior Class Gift campaign is classist seems, at best, misguided, and at worst, selfish and entitled. It wasn’t long ago when students like me or my friends on full scholarship would have had to settle for a state-school education, relying on merit scholarships and menial jobs just to make it through to graduation. The fact that we were even able to consider applying to Yale is essentially a gift from alumni — a group we will soon join who give what they can to make sure Yale continues to improve access to talented middle and working-class students. When I gave my five dollars, I checked the box for financial aid, in hopes that my gift will help make it possible for future students to graduate without the onerous debt I am facing.
As I see it, the Senior Class Gift is anti-classist. If you truly cannot afford the five dollars, don’t give it. If anyone ever finds out, they won’t blame you. But those of us who can, should — in celebration of the long tradition of alumni giving that has made a Yale education both accessible and desirable to talented students from all backgrounds.
The writer is a senior in Branford College.