The University announced Thursday that the Yale College term bill will increase by 3.5 percent for the 2017–18 year, from $64,650 to $66,900.
As the student population increases next fall by 175 students, tuition for Yale College will also rise to $51,400, from $49,480, and the cost of on-campus room and board will be $15,500, up from $15,170, according to an University release. The Provost’s Office anticipates that Yale’s financial aid expenses will increase by over 12 percent next year and that more than half of undergraduates will receive scholarships that, on average, nearly cover full tuition. The student effort portion of financial aid — the amount that students receiving financial aid must contribute to the University — will remain the same, marking the second consecutive year the contribution has remained fixed at $5,950 for most undergraduates.
Tuition and room and board expenses tend to increase from year to year due to inflation and University expenses. Yale has traditionally increased the term bill by roughly 4 percent each year.
Yale College Council Vice President Christopher Bowman ’18 said he was optimistic about the expansion of the financial aid budget but that he thought there was still room for improvement in Yale’s financial aid policies.
“We are very happy that despite the further stresses an increasing undergraduate population will put on the financial aid budget, students on financial aid will not have to pay more,” Bowman said. “However, we always believe that the student income contribution should be lower — or ideally nonexistent.”
The Yale College financial aid budget has expanded by over $3 million in the past two years, and this year the University spent $128 million on undergraduate need-based financial aid. In December 2016, the University rolled out a series of financial aid initiatives in an effort to increase support for low-income students.
Under the new policies, incoming freshmen with the highest need — those whose parents make under $65,000 and who have typical assets — will receive a $2,000 “startup fund” during their first year for essential purchases like computers or winter clothing, as well as an additional $600 annual allowance the following three years. Dean of Undergraduate Admissions Jeremiah Quinlan told the News last week that he estimates that around 215 freshman will receive these startup funds next year.
In addition, students with no expected family contribution will only have to provide $1,700 as part of their summer income contribution during sophomore, junior and senior years — a figure 35 percent lower than the contribution most other students on financial aid are expected to provide from working a summer job.
Still, various student groups have coordinated in recent years to protest the existence of the student effort requirement, arguing that it prevents students on financial aid from fully participating in campus life at Yale. Last week, the activist group Students Unite Now gathered outside Woodbridge Hall to protest the student effort alongside several other student groups.
Many of the financial aid initiatives announced in December were the result of feedback that Quinlan and Director of Financial Aid Caesar Storlazzi received from students and student organizations, Quinlan told the News last week.
“Since January 2015 and the release of an excellent YCC report, Caesar and I have had many conversations with students and administrators,” Quinlan said in an email. “Just because we believe that Yale does an excellent job in keeping an education here affordable does not mean there is not room for improvements.”
“Of course, nationally, [Yale’s] student effort levels remain incredibly competitive and generous compared to other colleges and universities,” he continued. “However, after extensive conversations with students and analysis of student employment and debt data, we were able to identify areas of greatest concern.”
Quinlan said these areas of concern included the steady rise of expected student effort portion of the financial aid package — especially the summer income contribution, which he said students reported can limit summer opportunities like unpaid internships and the ability to study abroad. He also emphasized the need for a greater focus on those students with the highest financial need.
More than half of the undergraduate student body receives need-based scholarships from Yale.
Clarification, March 10: This article was updated to clarify that half the financial aid awards will, on average, cover full tuition.