To the Editor:

Upon learning of the new financial aid policies set forth by Princeton and Harvard (“Following Princeton, Harvard beefs up aid,” 2/22) as well as Yale’s decision to maintain its current policy until next year, I was very discouraged and somewhat disgusted.

The truth is that Yale’s plan of forging a “partnership” among students, parents and the institution ultimately results in large disparities between the experiences of its students. While some students are burdened solely by their books, many others must also bear the brunt of contributing significant amounts to their tuition.

As a result, such students must limit the time they dedicate to extracurricular activities, as well as the types of summer opportunities they can pursue. Of course, I recognize the difference in Yale students’ finances is simply a fact of life. I’ll even admit that as a student who depended on loans and earnings from summer and academic year jobs, this responsibility helped me learn to budget my time and even to appreciate my education a little more.

Yet, if Yale is truly committed to increasing diversity (as it often states), it must not forget the importance and immeasurable value of economic diversity. If the University does not alter its financial aid policies to counter those offered by Harvard and Princeton, it will lose countless students to these schools. I know if these policies had been around when I was a senior in high school, I would have happily donned orange and black instead of blue and white.

While the loss may not seem significant now, over time such a trend will ultimately cause Yale to devolve into nothing more than a four-year country club for the children of the nation’s wealthiest families.

Kimberly Jones ’00

February 22, 2001