A year after Yale’s decision to admit international students without concern for their financial need, University administrators said the decision has only reaffirmed their belief that the policy serves to improve Yale in terms of diversity.
The number of students applying from abroad has increased significantly since the financial aid policy was changed, jumping from 1,418 international applicants for the class of 2004 to 1,984 international applicants for the class of 2006. In light of the rise in number of foreign applicants, Yale’s entire applicant pool has increased.
Yale College Dean of Admissions Richard Shaw said the class of 2005 — the first to benefit directly from the policy change — included a greater diversity of foreign students, and there were more international students admitted this year than ever before. Although exact matriculation numbers are not yet available, 61 countries are represented in the class of 2006.
A component of Yale President Richard Levin’s mission to internationalize Yale, University administrators repeatedly cited the increase in student diversity as a major benefit of need-blind financial aid.
Levin said the motivation behind the decision was to make it possible for students from all over the world to attend Yale. The new policy made it possible to accept more students from parts of the world like India, China, Eastern Europe and Africa.
“The principal goal was to make Yale truly international in its composition by removing financial aid as a barrier,” Levin said.
Levin said that during the first year of need-blind financial aid for international students, the number of such students on financial aid more than doubled.
Yale College Dean Richard Brodhead said the changes allow students at Yale to meet talented students from other countries.
“We want to educate people with promise from every country in the world,” Brodhead said. “It’s good for Yale to be opening its doors to people from more countries. And it’s good for students in this country to meet their talented contemporaries from other countries.”
“The system of need-blind aid enables the building of a talented pool of students from all over the world,” Brodhead said.
With the decision to extend need-blind admissions to international students, admissions officers no longer know whether applicants have applied for aid or not. Previously, only Americans and Canadians had benefited from such a procedure.
The decision resulted in a change in foreign student aid from $450,000 per class to approximately $650,000 per class. The increase in the need for finances this year was paid for by surpluses created by increases in Yale’s endowment.
International students benefitting from the policy change said they would not have been able to attend Yale otherwise.
Patricio Zambrano ’05 of Quito, Ecuador said that he would not be at Yale were it not for financial aid, and he said he thought that was probably the case for the majority of international students.
“Even those families who are in a comfortable position to pay for college education in other places would find that the standards here in the U.S. are incredibly high in terms of finances,” he said.
Lihan Sun ’05 , who is from Yuyao Zhejiang, China, said he thinks Yale’s extension of the need-blind policy to international students has encouraged more Chinese students to apply.
“My family would not have been able to afford such a huge amount of tuition and other fees if I had received no financial aid,” Sun said. “For me, I didn’t consider financial aid at the very first place but it was certainly one of the most important aspects to think over in making choices of schools.”