The First-Year Scholars at Yale program — designed to “facilitate and enhance” first-generation, low-income students’ transition to Yale — will expand next year to accommodate more students and offer them an additional class.
The program was launched in 2013 for a select group of incoming FGLI students, who take English 114 and receive mentoring from Yale faculty and residential staff in the summer prior to their first year at the University. According to a April 22 press release, the program will increase from 60 to 72 students — a 20 percent increase.
The participating students will now take an additional half-credit quantitative reasoning course, alongside the already existing full-credit writing course. As a result, first years who successfully complete First-Year Scholars at Yale, or FSY, will begin their first semester at Yale with 1.5 credits already completed. The program will expand from five to six weeks to accommodate the change.
FSY participants are nominated by the admissions office and are invited to participate in the program during the spring before coming to school in the fall. Nominated students who choose to participate receive tuition, room and board, a travel stipend to help cover the cost of travel to and from campus, a $250 living stipend and a waiver for the first-year student effort component of their financial aid award — colloquially known as the student income contribution.
“In the past five years, the number of first-generation college students in the first-year class has increased 75 percent while the number of first-year students qualifying for Pell Grants for low-income students has nearly doubled,” Dean of Undergraduate Admissions and Financial Aid Jeremiah Quinlan said. “As we continue to bring more strong students from a more diverse set of backgrounds to Yale, I am proud that Yale is providing the support our students need to be successful in all facets of the Yale experience. The student body is changing, and Yale is changing to serve our students.”
In the class of 2022, 311 incoming students were recipients of Pell Grants — subsidies the federal government provides to students with demonstrated financial need.
Former FSY participant Eddy Tzintzun-Tapia ’22 said that increasing the number of participating students “makes sense,” since there are many first-generation, low-income students who would like to participate but are not invited.
Dean of Yale College Marvin Chun spearheaded efforts to add the new quantitative reasoning modules, according to the press release. In the press release, Chun said that adding these modules is important in preparing first-generation, low-income students to take on math-heavy STEM majors at Yale.
Program participants, Chun said in the press release, can take advantage of the program’s flexible nature to improve upon their math abilities, to better prepare first-generation, low-income students for the courses that Yale offers.
“The new FSY quantitative courses will help ensure that all students are prepared to take advantage of these resources and are set up for success in all their academic pursuits,” he said.
Alison Cole ’99, Yale College director of development, said that the program is supported by financial gifts from “enthusiastic alumni and parents” totalling $5.3 million to date.
She said that FSY has attracted support from the philanthropic community because of its “incredible success rate and robust programming.”
“For many alumni, attending Yale was a transformative experience, and they are eager to support the next generation of diverse Yale College students,” she said. “Providing intensive and sustainable support to 72 FSY students is an expensive endeavor, and our generous donors make it possible.”
Alumni like Lise Pfeiffer Chapman SOM ’81, chair of the first-generation alumni group 1stGenYale, also expressed their enthusiasm for the expansion of FSY.
FSY invites some alumni to network with students every summer, and Chapman applauded the increased amount of students who will benefit from a supportive network of peers and alumni who are united by similar experiences.
“First-generation, low-income students come from diverse upbringings,” she said. “When you start sharing your stories you realize that despite your differences we have had many of the same experiences, and the stereotypes being to wash away.”
The first cohort of FSY students graduated from Yale in 2017.
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