The total cost of attending Yale and the University’s financial aid budget will both jump by roughly 5 percent in the 2012-’13 academic year, according to figures released last Tuesday.
Tuition will rise from $40,500 to $42,300 in the coming year, while room and board will cost $7,150 and $5,850, respectively — an increase in total cost of 4.9 percent to $55,300. At the same time, Yale’s undergraduate financial aid budget has increased to $120 million — 4.6 percent more than the $114.7 million the University allotted to undergraduate financial aid in 2011-’12, Deputy Provost Lloyd Suttle said. Dean of Undergraduate Admissions Jeffrey Brenzel said in an email Friday that the University expects a greater number of students to qualify for financial aid based on the term bill changes.
“Families should pay only what they can afford, depending on their income,” he said. “Overall, the net cost of attending Yale for families receiving financial aid has gone down substantially over the past 10-year and five-year periods.”
The University has also tweaked the self-help contribution expected of students receiving financial aid. The contribution has decreased by $300 for freshmen, who now will be asked to pay $2,700 toward their education in 2012-’13. But self-help for upperclassmen will rise by $200 to $3,200 in the coming academic year.
Suttle said in a Sunday email that the University’s financial aid policies are designed to ensure that a Yale College education remains affordable to all admitted students. He added that the University expects to expand financial aid more rapidly than it increases tuition costs over the next few years, unless overall growth in Yale students’ family incomes outpaces tuition increases.
Suttle also said Yale’s term bill increases are “in line” with those at comparable colleges and universities.
“After considering financial aid, the net cost of a Yale College education is lower than many other institutions, including both public and private schools,” Suttle said.
Despite the jump in the price tag of a Yale education, five experts interviewed said they expect the projected increase in the University’s financial aid budget to offset the spike in tuition and other fees, so that most Yale students will not see increases in their semester bills.
Jon Reider, director of college counseling at San Francisco University High School and a former admissions officer at Stanford University, said Yale’s 2012-’13 term bill increase is “not out of line” with those the University has made in past years or with changes at its peer institutions.
“Any individual family may find these increases a greater burden than in the past, but overall as an issue for the entire college applicant pool, it is not that important,” Reider said. “For lots of reasons, most people think Yale’s cost is worth it. I see no reason why that will not continue indefinitely.”
Andrew McNeill, senior associate director of college counseling at the Taft School in Watertown, Conn., said Yale’s strong endowment and donor network make it one of few schools that can afford to practice need-blind admissions policies and meet the full demonstrated need of students.
Mark Kantrowitz, publisher of Fastweb.com and FinAid.org — websites focused on college financial aid — said some students might prefer Harvard and Princeton because they have lower “sticker prices” than Yale, at $52,652 and $53,780, respectively. But he said Yale is still less expensive on a “net price basis”
than most other nonprofit colleges and universities, as well as some public institutions. Yale also enrolls more low-income students than other Ivy League schools do, Kantrowitz said, noting that the federally funded Pell Grant is awarded to more students at Yale than at Harvard or Princeton.
Reider also said the gap in cost between “expensive” private schools such as Yale and state universities has diminished over the past few years as state universities have shrunk financial aid budgets nationwide.
“Yale is trying very hard, and, it seems, succeeding, at not squeezing the middle class too hard,” Reider said. “They don’t want to be a ‘barbell school’ — that is, a school with lots of rich and poor at either end, with not so many in the middle.”
In the 2010-’11 academic year, 57 percent of undergraduates received need-based financial aid from Yale.
Gavan Gideon contributed reporting.