Despite the current recession, the proportion of Yale applicants who indicated that they will apply for financial aid increased by only one percentage point this year.
But financial aid administrators said the sluggish economy could have a greater effect on the number of accepted students who qualify for aid and the amount of aid awarded.
The admissions office has received the applications of 15,200 students for the Class of 2006 so far, with 10,219 of those students indicating that they will apply for financial aid, Dean of Undergraduate Admissions and Financial Aid Richard Shaw said.
As of last April, slightly more than 66 percent of the applicants for the Class of 2005 had applied for financial aid. Although the total number of financial aid applicants may vary slightly from the 10,219 admission applicants who indicated they would request aid this year, the number so far represents about 67 percent of the students contending for spots in the Class of 2006.
“In general, I would say I wasn’t expecting a huge increase in aid applications, because the economy was already a little bit nervous last year at this time,” Myra Smith, the director of University financial aid, said. “What I would expect is that we’d see an increase in the number of students who are eligible.”
Smith said a slow economy could affect not only the number of students who qualify for aid but also the amount of financial need those students demonstrate.
“Students who are currently eligible for aid could have increased need, if a parent becomes unemployed or whatever,” she said.
Shaw said he thinks it is likely that there will be an increase in demonstrated need.
“One would conjecture that it would be greater because of mergers and layoffs,” Shaw said. “Things have not been great, both in the U.S. and worldwide.”
Of the 549 students accepted early for the Class of 2006, 245 indicated they would apply for financial aid.
The admissions office is not currently releasing the number of international students admitted early. Shaw did, however, confirm that more international students were admitted early this year than in previous years, due in part to a new need-blind policy for international students.
“You can rest assured that there are more international kids on aid coming in early,” Shaw said.
Other changes in the financial aid policy, which will take effect this coming year, will award more scholarship money to all students who qualify for aid.
Smith said that in the past, a student had to contribute $6,000 in “self-help,” which includes work and loans. Starting next year, students who demonstrate financial need will contribute $3,900 in self-help.
“Say they only had $5,900 in need,” Smith said. “Under the old self-help, they wouldn’t get any scholarship because self-help is always the first thing in an aid package. Under the new policy, they’d have $2,000 in [University] scholarships.”
The financial aid office is evaluating the financial aid folders for current students; the changes in the policy will apply to current students as well as to new classes.