Fewer of Yale’s early admits submitted financial aid applications this fall than at this time last year, but the average size of aid grants for these admits has continued to rise, according to data released by the Office of Financial Aid.
Fifty-seven percent of early admits to the class of 2014 had declared their intention to apply for financial aid as of Dec. 15, down from 62 percent recorded by this time last year, said Caesar Storlazzi, director of student financial services. On average, Yale has awarded $32, 386 per aid applicant in the early admit class, an increase of about $1,500 over the previous year. Storlazzi said he thinks the minor changes indicate that despite a suffering economy, Yale families are more “resilient” than the average American household.
Financial aid applications for the incoming freshman class are accepted on a rolling basis until May 15. Among the early admits who have submitted financial aid applications, Storlazzi said there has been a 6 percentage points increase in applications that are only partially filled out — a phenomenon he said will create a backup in his office and will mean students in both the early and the regular pool will have to wait longer than usual to receive notification of their financial aid awards. The increase in incomplete applications also makes it difficult to project accurately the demand for financial aid for the incoming class of 2014, he said.
“Given the current economic situation, I would expect parents to be more concerned about submitting their financial aid applications,” Storlazzi said. But he said the slim chances of early admittance may be why more students are deciding not to finish their aid applications until after they have been admitted. Though he projected that all aid applicants would receive packages later than usual, he said they would still have their awards in time to compare Yale’s aid packages with other schools’ and decide whether to matriculate.
Students applying early to Yale are encouraged to complete their financial aid applications by the early application deadline of Nov. 1, but have until May 15 to do so. The process requires students to submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid form, a Yale College Scholarship Service PROFILE form and their parents’ latest tax returns. International students and students whose parents are self-employed or divorced are required to submit additional supplementary forms. Those students who complete their aid applications and are admitted early receive their financial aid letters with their offers of acceptance.
Ryan Munce, vice president of the National Research Center for College and University Admissions, said many families are still inadequately informed about the requirements of financial aid applications, which may lead to incomplete submissions.
The relative steadiness in Yale’s financial aid expenditure in spite of the recession may be due to its cushioned aid packages, which already account for sudden income changes, Storlazzi said.
That the typical Yale family tends to be more affluent than the average household may be another key factor, said Mark Kantrowitz, publisher of FinAid.org, a Web site that offers financial aid information and advice to college-bound students. Kantrowitz said Yale’s generous aid incentives are also attracting increasing numbers of lower-income students, as evidenced by the increase in the average amount of Yale’s award packages. Kantrowitz said that, in the long term, this may stretch the University’s financial aid budget in the years to come.
But Storlazzi said he does not anticipate any significant increases in the financial aid budget for the coming year. If such a rise happens, he said, Yale will expand its budget to meet demand.
The Financial Aid Office has seen no new requests for aid package reviews among current undergraduates so far this semester, Storlazzi said. This lack of demand continues the year’s trend in which the Financial Aid Office received only about 50first-semester financial aid review requests.
Correction: Feb. 1, 2010
An earlier version of this article mischaracterized the number of incomplete financial aid applications submitted so far this year by early admits. The number of incomplete applications has increased since last year by 6 percentage points, not 6 percent.