They only take 32 courses, and now Harvard University students may have even more time on their hands.
Harvard announced last week that all students on financial aid will receive an additional $2,000 in grants, giving students the choice to cut back on or quit work-study jobs. The changes in Harvard’s policy came three weeks after Princeton University announced the elimination of all student loans. Reacting to Harvard’s announcement, many Yale students said they would welcome the extra aid if the University were to institute similar changes, but that in general, working at Yale is not too great a barrier to studying, playing and getting involved.
“I’d never turn down free cash,” said Andrew Towne ’04, who works 10 hours a week in Cross Campus Library. “[But] I’m not unhappy with the present situation.”
Like many other students who help to pay their way at Yale by working on-campus, Towne said his time spent at the library is not overwhelming.
“I worked just as much in high school,” Towne said. “I have more free time in college, so I don’t feel time pressured.”
Harvard instituted its new policy in part to ensure that employment will not detract from student life. Under the new plan, students have the choice of allocating the extra $2,000 to lessen either work-study contributions or loans.
But some Yale students like Towne said work can be a beneficial complement to other activities.
“Different kinds of work-study can enhance an undergraduate experience,” Towne said. “You are learning a skill that’s kind of interesting.”
Matt Deland ’04, who works at the circulation desk at Sterling Memorial Library, said work-study does not seem to be too inconveniencing for lots of students.
“I wouldn’t say the majority of people have jobs,” Deland said. “It doesn’t seem like it is overburdening too many people.”
Nonetheless, Deland can think of other ways to spend his time than behind the main desk at Sterling library.
“I wouldn’t say I’m missing out on anything, but I’d rather be doing something else,” Deland said.
Julia Tierney ’02 works at the Yale Repertory Theater and Pierson College dining hall for extra spending money. She said although her work schedule is manageable, Yale should respond to the Princeton and Harvard initiatives to help students finance their education.
“I think [a plan similar to Harvard’s] would be helpful, but I’d be more inclined toward the Princeton plan,” Tierney said. “I’m a little ashamed that Yale hasn’t reacted yet.”
Other students shared Tierney’s sentiments. Many said Yale should follow in Princeton and Harvard’s footsteps not simply to alleviate financial burdens of current students, but to ensure that Yale stays competitive in the college admissions game.
Rosana Garcia ’03 said she was worried Princeton’s generous financial aid policy, which now eliminates all student loans, will draw minority students away from Yale.
“As a minority student — I’m worried that minority admissions will go down,” Garcia said. “I don’t know if Yale has thought about that.”
Students have been lobbying for financial aid reform even before Princeton and Harvard’s sweeping announcements. This semester, a coalition of students has been examining Yale’s financial aid policies, and has called on the University to eliminate all self-help — which includes loans and work-study — in the financial aid package.
Organizer Johnny Scafidi ’01 said Harvard’s announcement will not greatly affect the actions of the coalition.
“The coalition’s efforts had been gaining strength before Harvard’s announcement,” Scafidi said.
Another member of the coalition, Julianna Bentes ’04, agreed.
“We would rather that Yale followed Princeton’s example,” than that of Harvard, Bentes said.