Scaled changes to students’ travel contributions within financial aid packages have been recalculated and will be implemented next year, Yale Director of Financial Aid Caesar Storlazzi said.
Storlazzi said the revision of travel allowances was first proposed by Yale College Council representatives at a fall meeting of the University’s Subcommittee on Admissions and Financial Aid, and the final go-ahead for the overhaul recently came from Yale President Richard Levin. The recalculated allowances will increase the Yale College Scholarship budget by about $162,000, Storlazzi said, and about 50 percent of students currently on financial aid will be affected by the change. Students will be notified of the changes in the letters they will receive detailing their 2006-07 awards, he said.
The specific cost of travel was determined in a more accurate way than it has been in the past, Storlazzi said.
“We made certain that the cost of travel to and from the airport or train station was also taken into account when determining the travel allowances,” he said. “For domestic students, including Canadians, we looked at two round trips. For non-Canadian international students, we looked at one round trip.”
Storlazzi said that while there were cases in which current travel allowances were deemed overly generous and could have been decreased, the University did not make any such reductions.
YCC President Steven Syverud ’06 said the increased travel aid was suggested based on the results of the survey the council ran in the fall.
“Of all the questions we asked on the survey, it was one of the things students felt most strongly about,” Syverud said. “This is a solution to a problem that’s been long acknowledged that will make a tangible difference to students,” he said.
Sally Donahue, director of financial aid at Harvard University, said Harvard approaches travel contributions in a manner analogous to Yale’s.
“It sounds like we have a similar approach to allowing travel expenses for students — two round trips annually for domestic and Canadian students, and one for international students,” Donahue said in an e-mail. “We review our allowances annually using a number of sources — travel agents, Orbitz and others — and make any adjustments we think are necessary.”
Little more than a year ago, Yale 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. A week ago, Harvard announced that it would eliminate the parental contribution for students from families with annual incomes below $60,000 and reduce the parental contribution for students from families earning between $60,000 and $80,000 a year.
In light of the recent changes to financial aid at Harvard and other Ivy League schools, Storlazzi said, Yale is always looking for ways in which it can improve its financial aid.
“Yale constantly looks at its financial aid program and will continue to do so based on the needs of students and the pressures brought to bear in the educational marketplace,” he said.