Beginning with the class of 2015, low-income families will receive more financial aid, while those on the higher end of the income spectrum will receive less.
Families that earn between $130,000 and $200,000 annually will pay a greater share of tuition than they have in the past, Director of Financial Aid Caesar Storlazzi said, with the “parent contribution” rising from an average of 12 percent of annual income to 15 percent. This change accompanies the University’s decision to waive parent contributions for families that make less than $65,000 each year — a more generous cutoff than the previous $60,000 figure announced in December.
“Looking at the total picture, there are three big factors at play here: the drop in endowment, our desire to help more folks on the lower end, and our belief that making moderate adjustments on the higher end will still enable complete economic diversity,” Storlazzi said.
Even with the new formula, Storlazzi said, Yale is ahead of many other universities which charge 17 percent of annual income for this group of families as a parent contribution. The changes to the parent contribution on the upper and lower ends of the income scale will amount to an estimated $9 million increase in the overall financial aid budget and will help preserve financial aid during a time of economic strain, he said.
Mark Kantrowitz, publisher of two websites focused on college financial aid (FinAid.org and Fastweb.com), said Yale’s decision to shift funds from wealthier students to less wealthy students is part of a greater trend in higher education. Still, he said, Yale’s changes are too small to make a major difference in the University’s financial aid program because “we’re talking a few thousand dollars.”
“It’s a tweaking of policy,” he said.
Yale joins Dartmouth and Williams colleges in reducing financial aid for wealthier families in recent years, according to FinAid.com. Dartmouth announced last February that it would reintroduce loans for students from families earning more than $75,000 who would enter the college in fall 2011. Approximately a week before Dartmouth changed its policies, Williams announced it would reintroduce loans for some students receiving financial aid in 2011-’12, though not for “low-income students.”
Despite the increase in the overall financial aid budget, two Yale students interviewed said the University must do more to make a Yale education affordable for students from all backgrounds.
Kenneth Reveiz ’12, a member of the Undergraduate Organizing Committee, said the group believes that the student contribution toward financial aid, which increased by $400 this year, creates a “two-class system” among students. The changes for the class of 2015, he said, do nothing to rectify the issue.
Though Ellen Ray ’12, another Undergraduate Organizing Committee member, said she is not concerned by the content of the new rules, she said more student input — aside from that of the Yale College Council — is needed before the University changes its financial aid policies again.
“I think it would be great if there could be more transparency when administrators deliberate,” Ray said. “A lot of the time, these changes come as orders from on high.”
Almost 3,100 families currently receive financial aid.