After meeting with the Yale College Council last week, University officials said they are considering financial aid reforms that could be announced as early as next spring.
Based on a suggestion from Yale President Richard Levin, changes will likely be made to students’ travel contributions within financial aid packages, Financial Aid Director Caesar Storlazzi said. It has been three years since financial aid officials calculated student contributions for travel costs to various locations, and new calculations are a primary goal for this year, Storlazzi said.
Storlazzi said that changes to the self-help student contribution or summer contribution are still open for discussion, but he said no changes will be made this year.
Levin, who did not attend last week’s meeting with the YCC, said he believes changes to the travel contribution are necessary, based on the results of a YCC survey conducted online earlier this fall.
“I had said in response to the original YCC resolution that we would look into that in a study, and if the study found that we should adjust our policy, we would,” Levin said.
Recalculations of the travel contributions are also necessary because they were originally calculated based on travel distance from Yale, instead of the actual costs of traveling to and from various locations, Storlazzi said.
“It doesn’t matter how far away from New Haven you live,” he said. “The example I always use is that it costs more to fly to Boise, Idaho, than to Los Angeles, even though Boise is closer.”
Storlazzi said that while there may not be any other major changes made this year, financial aid will be consistently re-examined.
“Not a lot is going to happen this year,” he said. “We’re not going to reduce self-help or summer [contributions]. Levin was up front about that before his forum.”
The YCC presented the findings of their survey at last week’s subcommittee meeting, focusing on issues that student respondents listed as most pressing — reductions to travel expenses and summer contributions, as well as increased accessibility within the financial aid office.
Storlazzi said the financial aid office plans to create feedback forms to monitor students’ experiences after speaking with financial aid officers.
YCC President Steven Syverud ’06 said he is hopeful that University officials will use the survey results to continue to improve financial aid packages.
“The financial aid policy has not really had a lot of critical input in the past, and I think that is really what happened here,” he said. “We wanted to get at the type of work that the University thought the students should be doing.”
Dean of Undergraduate Admissions Jeffrey Brenzel said he has enjoyed working with students as part of the financial aid deliberations.
“I think the conversations between administrators are useful and productive, and I expect financial aid issues to receive continuing review,” Brenzel said.
Nine months ago, the University removed the parent contribution for students from families earning under $45,000 and reduced it for students from families earning between $45,000 and $60,000.