To the Editor:

In an article titled “Groups Seek Aid and Reform” (9/27), Yale Conservative Party Vice-Chairman Zheyao Li ’06 is quoted as saying, “I’d say it’s [financial aid reform] absolutely going overboard” and, “The student contribution is here for a reason, to give students an opportunity to earn their keep. There’s no real reason for Yale to be cutting the student contribution — it’s really not that high to begin with.”

I can’t help but question how asking the administration to cut the number of hours students are forced to work so that they can fully take advantage of Yale opportunities is “going overboard.” A major part of the Yale experience is the extracurricular activities offered. Clearly, Li, as vice-chairman of the Conservative Party, has been able to enjoy such opportunities himself. I wonder if Li speaks from experience when he says that the student contribution is “really not that high.” Has he attempted to “earn his keep” by working up to 20 hours a week during the school year, taking on thousands of dollars in loans, and working all summer to pay off the summer contribution (as many students on financial aid must do)? I must question why it is that only students with limited financial resources should be obliged to “earn their keep.” Are they less deserving of a full Yale experience? If we believe that they are not, it’s time for Yale to implement a policy that reflects that.

Jesse Harris ’08

Sept. 30, 2005