Term bill verges on 50k

No caption.
No caption. Photo by Nora Caplan-Bricker.

The cost of attending Yale College will be just short of $50,000 next year.

Tuition, room and board for Yale undergraduates will rise 4.8 percent, or $2,300, for the next academic year, University officials announced Tuesday, bringing the total cost of attending Yale to $49,800. This increase tops tuition hikes recently announced by the University’s peer institutions, as well as Yale’s own increases in recent years.

“It’s a little larger percentage increase than past years, but we have budget issues,” University President Richard Levin said.

Still, Yale is among the least expensive schools in the Ivy League. Of the Ivies who have announced term bill increases so far, only Yale and Princeton will stay below the $50,000 mark in the 2010-’11 academic year.

Though Yale currently faces a budget shortfall of about $100 million, Levin said the administration is not reaching into students’ wallets to close the gap. While next year’s sticker price will rise, the cost of attending Yale could actually decrease for students whose family situations warrant increased aid.

Even as departments across the University try to slash their budgets, officials have budgeted at least a 10 percent increase in financial aid spending next year, raising the average Yale scholarship to more than $35,000. This increased financial aid spending will effectively cancel out much of the revenue gained from the tuition hike, Levin said.

In the 2009-’10 academic year, students on financial aid paid an average of approximately $15,000 to attend Yale. And even the 45 percent of students who pay the full sticker price are responsible for less than half of the expenses incurred by their Yale education, Levin said; it costs the University roughly $400,000 to put a student through four years at Yale College.

Some students who do not qualify for financial aid said they are worried their families will be strained by the increase, but Levin said he hopes few will be in this position since the financial aid formula put into place January 2008 provides significant assistance to all families with an annual income under $200,000.

Tuition accounted for about 15 percent of Yale’s revenue in the 2008-’09 fiscal year, compared to 44 percent from the endowment, according to the University’s financial report. A 1 percent increase in tuition generates about $1 million in revenue for Yale after accounting for spending on financial aid — pocket change compared to money saved from various budget cuts, such as capping paid leave for employees or reducing Graduate School enrollment by 10 to 15 percent, Levin said.

“Term bill increases make only a small dent in the budget deficit in part because we always increase financial aid by a proportional amount,” Provost Peter Salovey said in an e-mail.

As a result, no parents of students receiving financial aid will have to increase the amount they contribute next year, Levin said. Still, the portion of all financial aid packages that students must contribute through jobs or other means will rise from $2,600 to $3,000 for the 2010-’11 academic year. The self-help increase is in line with past years, when student contributions were bumped up in proportion to the tuition increase, but runs counter to the last two years, when Yale kept self-help increases low and expanded aid to parents as a part of a financial aid overhaul.

About 55 percent of Yale undergraduates receive some form of financial aid.

Levin said Yale’s massive endowment allowed the University to keep costs for students to a minimum in the boom years of the late 1990s and 2000s. After the 2007-’08 academic year, Yale limited the tuition increase to 2.2 percent, the expected rate of inflation that year. Last year, the Yale Corporation approved a 3.3 percent rise.

Ten students interviewed said the increase in costs will hurt their families.

“I guess it means that they’re raising revenue from people who can afford it, but it sucks for people who aren’t on financial aid,” Bryan Kam ’12 said. “It’s incredibly expensive.”

The rate of tuition increase during Levin’s tenure as president has been the slowest of any Ivy League school, Levin said. Yale was the cheapest Ivy until this year, when Princeton University’s term bill undercut Yale’s by $480.

Princeton will again charge less than Yale next year: It announced it will increase expenses by 3.3 percent to $48,580, one of the lowest percentage increases in Princeton’s tuition since 1966.

And Yale’s rate of increase is the greatest among its peer institutions that have announced their tuition hikes so far this year.

Cornell will raise its student tuition and fees 4.4 percent to $52,316, while the cost of attending Stanford will top $50,000 next year for the first time following a 3.5 percent rise. Dartmouth recently announced a cost increase of 4.6 percent, the lowest in five years, though financial aid at the college suffered when officials reinstated a student loan program. Harvard has yet to announce its tuition for the 2010-’11 academic year.

The total cost of attending Yale is divided into tuition — which comes to $38,300, up from $36,500 this year — and room and board, which will cost students $11,500, up $500 from last year.

Jordi Gassó contributed reporting.


  • Abhinav Nayar

    As a prospective Yale student, I’d want to spend all my time there doing something that I couldn’t do elsewhere. So instead of working, I’d ask my parents to cover the student contribution as well or perhaps take a loan and pay back with interest once I have a job upon graduation. But for someone who doesn’t have that option and will have to have an on campus job cutting into his or her time, this hike could be a serious competitive disadvantage when choosing where to enroll. Is Yale really in such trouble? There is an article about Yale’s worsening financial health almost everyday in the YDN.

  • Too expensive!

    Honestly, education is getting too expensive in the States. Thank God I’m graduating this year. Oh wait…medical school…..

  • graph

    Is it adjusted for inflation? Are the units real dollars?

  • Mom&Dad

    Might rather loan my high schoolers the $200k to start a franchise… Probably better off anyway.

  • Huh?

    Is it REALLY worth it?

  • @ 1 and 2

    YDN seems obsessed with it right now. Obviously the administration is doing a lot, but I don’t know that it warrants all the coverage.

    Yes, education is super expensive in the states. But: 1) Actual cost of a Yale education is SIGNIFICANTLY higher thn tuition. 2) In terms of lifetime earnings, I’m sure the Yale cost is well well worth it.

  • Anonymous

    President Levin really needs to get out of his ivory tower more often. Does he realize that in expensive areas in CA and NY even 220,000 doesn’t go very far? We are a yale family who make well above 200,000 but live in an expensive city. We live very simply and frugally -small house, old cars,etc. The present tuition is doable but not easy. But if it keeps going up at this rate, it will pretty soon be out of our budget as well. I feel for people in the tution donut!!

  • rich

    I think in the future (starting now!) people will be sending their kids to trade school and apprenticeships/community college because college tuition even with aid is obscene…
    It does not make sense for children or parents to be racking up that much debt without even a guarantee of a good-paying job…

  • Katie Harrison

    Still no comment from any university official on the logic of increasing the student contribution at a time when working students and their families are being squeezed from all sides? Seems worth asking, especially since Provost Salovey says the tuition increases make such a small dent in the budget deficit.

    My understanding is that governments should spend counter-cyclically to the market if they can; shouldn’t universities as well?

  • @1

    You will enjoy your time at Yale, and Yale’s financial health is not bad at all. Reread the article: financial aid is going up and Yale is still among the lowest in the Ivys with cost.

  • iufsi7

    Adhinav’s comment is dead on. Students should spend their time at Yale on their studies, and extracirriculars. A job is not a good use of time during the school year. Fine for the summer.

    Also, I am impressed that 45% of the students’ families DO NOT need financial aid. Must be a lot of well to do folks.

  • @#9

    No they shouldn’t. They aren’t responsible for job creation and cannot tax people. Study the endowment first.

  • @#11

    Depends on how you define “need.” I don’t get any financial aid, but my family is really struggling with it.

  • arglebargle

    Wah wah wah. Its soooo hard to have a student job! I had a student job when I was an undergrad and it was a great opportunity to spend some time with some regular people in the real world.

  • PC ’06

    I disagree with those who say that a job “takes away” from a Yale education. In fact, it adds substantially to the experience.
    As an undergrad, I worked ~20 hours/week for 4 years as a music librarian, usher, and stage manager. As a violinist, I was able to experience aspects of the arts beyond performance itself–one of the reasons I came to Yale in the first place. I was also able to meet a lot of really neat people. For example, I’ll never forget the time I stage managed for Stephen Sondheim, and chatted with him backstage while waiting for his turn to go on. Working certainly did not preclude me from participating in extracurriculars–I was as active as anyone else in Yale’s music scene, and I played IMs and went to Master’s Teas–just like anyone else.
    I mention my Yale work experiences in interviews for both musical and non-musical jobs, and everyone is always very interested. It also provided great fodder for grad school entrance essays.
    So I definitely disagree that working at Yale is a burden. If you find the right job to fit your interests, it can be a great experience.

  • DC ’03

    I agree wholeheartedly with #15. I worked all 4 years at Yale and the various jobs I held within different academic departments were fascinating, exposed me to interesting people and situations, and made great resume fodder!

  • Tanner

    Of course when Yale and the other Elites raise tuition all boats rise with it.
    Beware The Educational Industrial Complex Perpaps. Perhaps the New Residential College should just house “full Paying” students so the collge can offer them 1st class emenities like the airlines and hotels do.

  • @#9

    “My understanding is that governments should spend counter-cyclically to the market if they can; shouldn’t universities as well?”

    Wow. Just wow.

  • Alex

    As a student who works about fifteen hours a week, I agree wholeheartedly with the commenters above who discussed the benefits of a student job. I’ve loved every job I’ve had here, and learned so much through them; it’s a part of my Yale experience I would absolutely never change.

    However, I have friends who wouldn’t agree, because they haven’t been lucky enough to find jobs they enjoy, or because they DO feel like they have less time for other things they really want to do (let’s get real – who can ACTUALLY work 10-20 hrs/wk, do all their homework, have time to see friends, AND go to master’s teas and play i.m.’s? Okay, this is Yale, so I guess some people who are super-speedy can, but for the rest of us, that gets pretty unrealistic pretty quickly).

    I think it’s important to acknowledge that for students who work, some aspects of the Yale experience are different, and some opportunities get closed off. This is particularly the case for those who have student jobs in order to fulfill financial aid obligations, in which case the particular job might be a choice but the time commitment of working at least ten hours a week – and more next year – is not. All Yalies are obviously incredibly privileged just to be here, but I do think we need to acknowledge that there are disparities, especially along the lines of class, in student experience.