Univ. trims scholarships for children of staff

When Yale Police Department OfficerMartin Pitoniakopened the letter containing his daughter Annie’s tuition bill for St. Joseph’s College in Hartfordthis summer, he received an unpleasant surprise: The bill was thousands of dollars higher than he expected.

Yale had given his family less than $2,500 —one third of what he had expected—from its Child Scholarship Plan, which awards an annual college scholarship of up to $15,200 for children of faculty and staff members who have worked full-time for the University for at least six years. Beginning next academic year, Yale will deduct the value of any scholarships or grants a student earns elsewhere — from the student’s college or a scholarship program, for example — before calculating the University’s award.

Administrators said they are simply enforcing a rulethat already existed under the Child Scholarship Plan. But after attempting to enforce the rule this academic year, Yale decided to postpone the change until next yearbecausefamilies complained of the short notice.

Yale spokesman Tom Conroy said in an e-mail that Yale will not enforce the policy until next year in order to “minimize any disruptions” for affected families.He added that Yale“remains committed to providing the scholarship for sons and daughters of staff and faculty.” Yale awards close to 1,000 staff and faculty scholarships, he said.

Pitoniak, who has worked at Yale for 27 years, said his family was not notified of Yale’s decision at all. Pitoniakand his wife, Lisa, an administrative assistant in the Yale College Dean’s Office who has worked at Yale for the past 28 years, said they received a second bill, in which Yale doubled the amount of its initial grant, two weeks after they first learned of the change. The new figure still falls more than $2,000 short of the $6,895 he had been expecting.

Conroy did not respond to a request for comment about why Yale staff were not informed about the initial change.

Pitoniak said his daughterreceived a substantial scholarship to attend Saint Joseph’s College, where she is a freshman, which is why under the new policy, her award from Yale will be reduced.

“I have no idea how this new formula works,” he said.“It kind of hurts because it seems like my daughter has been penalized for being smart —it takes effort and time to earn this scholarship money.”

After his daughter’s scholarship and Yale’s contribution, Pitoniak said his daughter’s college bill totals about $8,000. While he said he appreciates Yale’s scholarship program, his family will now have to postpone saving money in order to pay for their daughter’s college tuition.

Still, Pitoniak’s son Patrick Pitoniak ’12 said his Yale tuitionhas been unaffected by the changes becauseYale’s financial aid policy already deductsthe value of external scholarships,.

Conroy said the University may revisit the details of the Child Scholarship Program in the future.Parents’ incomes do not affect the size of the scholarship.

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