The search to fill the newly created director of undergraduate financial aid position began last December, marking an administrative restructuring that will allow Yale’s Financial Aid Office to focus more closely on undergraduate aid.
In hiring an administrator to specialize in financial aid for Yale College, the University returns to a model it used up until two decades ago. Director of Financial Aid Caesar Storlazzi said the creation of this new position came as a result of Yale’s evaluation of the structure of student financial services for Yale College and the graduate and professional schools over the past few years.
“We have come to the conclusion that the model that works best, from the standpoints of service, communications and compliance, is the model of having a director whose sole responsibility is to the school he or she is associated with,” Storlazzi said. “Until 1997, Yale College had its own aid director and in many ways, we are returning to a ‘tried and true’ organizational model which offers the opportunity for great synergy between the aid office, undergraduate admissions and the central Dean’s Office.”
According to the job description, the undergraduate director of financial aid will lead a team of eight to 10 full-time financial aid professionals in the Undergraduate Financial Aid Office. In this role, the director will run the office responsible for administering all financial aid to undergraduates and for providing service to students and families.
The new director of undergraduate financial aid will report to Storlazzi and Dean of Undergraduate Admissions Jeremiah Quinlan.
Storlazzi said his position will revert back to its original scope, explaining that without direct responsibility for the daily operations of the Yale College aid office, he and those who hold his position in the future will be better able to assist all 13 schools at Yale. This includes aiding in the hiring and training of new staff members, use of technology and other new thinking in student financial services.
Quinlan said that the creation of the office of undergraduate financial aid will help financial aid professionals focus even more on working with Yale’s undergraduates.
According to the job description, the new director will also be in charge of all undergraduate financial aid reporting to internal and external organizations such as the federal government, the College Board, the media and Yale’s Office of Institutional Research.
Yale College Council President Peter Huang ’18, who has been involved in conversations with the administration about reforming undergraduate financial aid, said the new role will improve financial aid services at Yale.
“Storlazzi is currently tasked with understanding the financial aid structure at all parts of the University,” Huang said. “With a more concentrated responsibility portfolio compared to that of the director of financial aid, the director of undergraduate financial aid will be able to provide the needed attention and understanding to all undergraduates, many with unique circumstances.”
Huang noted that based on student anecdotes, the Financial Aid Office is often not flexible enough to take into account a variety of unique circumstances.
When the office does attempt to accommodate these circumstances, Huang said, the process can be “confusing and convoluted.” He added that administrative restructuring in the Financial Aid Office might be an attempt to understand how to address undergraduate circumstances that do not fit into the general financial aid template.
Dennis Vu ’19 said one impetus for the creation of the position could be the addition of the two new residential colleges and the resulting increase in workload for the office.
Vu added that the division of labor as a result of the new position will decrease the administrative burden and improve undergraduate financial aid services, hoping especially that the new position will combat the long response time that many of his friends on financial aid have experienced.
Caesar Storlazzi was appointed director of financial aid in 2005.