The Yale College Council announced a new initiative on Friday that will allow students to set up appointments online to meet with financial aid officers at 246 Church St.
Previously, the Office of Undergraduate Financial Aid only offered walk-in office hours and allowed students to set up appointments over the phone.
The new policy came after a series of discussions between the office and members of the YCC Financial Aid Task Force — Sammy Landino ’21, Angela Avonce-Malavet ’22, Liana Wang ’20, Jovan Tafoya ’21 and John Lignelli ’23 — to increase the transparency of Yale’s financial aid policies. Appointments are available to all undergraduates between noon and 4:00 p.m. Before this change, the Office of Undergraduate Financial Aid expanded its office hours from limited times throughout the week to all of the office’s working hours — 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
“It was helpful to open up the amount and hours to greater time frames but the feedback we received from the YCC was that some students don’t feel comfortable just dropping by and would rather make an appointment,” said Director of the Office of Undergraduate Financial Aid Scott Wallace-Juedes.
Wallace-Juedes said he hopes to increase the accessibility of the office’s resources. He added that students can still drop in any time during the office’s normal working hours to see a financial aid officer who will be able to answer students’ questions regarding both the University’s financial aid policy and a student’s individual financial aid letter.
“We’re excited with this initiative because previously, the only way … to schedule an appointment was to call in, and go through a confusing and archaic process,” Landino said. “We’re confident that this reform will significantly lower the barriers for financial advice and support at Yale.”
This new initiative is one in a series of policies made this year to make Yale more accessible, especially to lower-income students.
According to Wallace-Juedes, students who see the financial aid officers — who are often the “most stressed” about funding or “have family pressures at home regarding finances” — may not know that these resources exist. This initiative’s goal is to be more accessible to more students on financial aid, said Wallace-Juedes.
“The Financial Aid Office has been working to increase transparency between them and the student body, and I believe this is the best way to do it: allow students to schedule face-to-face meetings where all of their questions can be answered,” said YCC President Kahlil Greene ’21.
The YCC and the Office of Undergraduate Financial Aid are still collaborating to come up with more policies to help students, said Greene. He noted that there are a “few projects on the horizon” that will “continue this process.”
According to Landino, the YCC has a small working group comprised mostly of first-generation low-income students that meet with Wallace-Juedes and Dean of Undergraduate Admissions and Financial Aid Jeremiah Quinlan. Landino added that Quinlan and Wallace-Juedes are “always open to hearing new ideas we propose, and seem eager to take whatever steps to make the financial aid office as transparent as possible.”
“That commitment to transparency regards both articulating their financial aid materials and message clearly, and also regards making their office more physically accessible in terms of meeting with administrators,” Landino said. “They take our thoughts seriously and we have a great working relationship.”
To make an appointment at the Office of Undergraduate Financial Aid, students can go to the financial aid website, where they will find a link to schedule a one-on-one appointment.
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