Kai Nip

Kai Nip, Staff Photographer

When reapplying for financial aid on an annual basis, international students often have to translate mountains of paperwork from their home countries into English.

But a new policy will alleviate these burdens. Starting next academic year, such students’ expected family contribution will be set for all four years.

In a statement to the News, Dean of Undergraduate Admissions and Financial Aid Jeremiah Quinlan said that starting with the 2019–2020 school year, expected family contribution for international students on financial aid will be set when they initially apply for aid and will remain the same for every year the student is enrolled. They will not need to reapply for financial aid every year. This new policy applies for current international students as well. Quinlan added that international students, like domestic students, can request a review of their eligibility and award amount “at any time.”

The federal government requires Americans and permanent residents who receive need-based financial aid to reapply for aid each academic year in order to determine their eligibility for federal aid programs, but there is no such federal requirement for international students.

“This policy change is the latest in a series of initiatives designed to reduce barriers for our students and make the financial aid process less complicated and more transparent,” Quinlan said.

Director of Undergraduate Financial Aid Scott Wallace-Juedes said that Yale is changing the policy because international students and their families “face unique challenges” when applying for financial aid. He said these include “language barriers, fluctuating currencies, difficulties associated with providing annual tax and income documentation and shipping or transmitting sensitive financial information and documents internationally.”

Emir Akdere ’21, a Turkish citizen, said that he needs to personally translate “seven or eight” documents from Turkish to English in order to apply for aid. He explained that it is “nearly impossible” to translate the documents without professional help “since most of [them] are jargon-heavy.” Even so, Akdere went on to say that because he applied for financial aid before his first year, he already had the forms translated then, so reapplying was not as difficult as figuring out the process the first time around.

“You need some degree of understanding what information in the Turkish tax returns corresponds to what in the U.S. tax returns,” Akdere said. “Some words in those forms have completely different meanings than their dictionary meanings.”

Wallace-Juedes said that he hopes the new policy will give international students “peace of mind” about their ability to afford a Yale education and navigate the federal immigration system.

He added that the new policy would allow his office to give returning students their financial aid awards earlier in the spring, “which can assist in the processing of visas and other immigration materials.”

Ann Kuhlman, the executive director of the Office of International Students and Scholars, said she was proud of the change.

“I am certain that this policy change will reduce a source of anxiety for some of our current students and will make Yale even more accessible to talented students from abroad,” said Kuhlman. “Yale already makes an extraordinary commitment to supporting international students from all backgrounds. This is a thoughtful, well-researched change and one that serves our students well.”

Yale is one of only five American universities that has a need-blind admissions policy for international students.

Skakel McCooey | skakel.mccooey@yale.edu