Yale Daily News
On Tuesday, the Yale College Council and the Financial Aid Working Group hosted an information session to address student questions about the process of financial aid renewal for the 2021-22 academic year.
The event, which was held over Zoom, was moderated by Angela Avonce ’22, a student member of the YCC Financial Aid Task Force, which seeks to ensure the transparency of Yale’s financial aid policies. Director of Undergraduate Financial Aid Scott Wallace-Juedes gave a brief presentation on the process of financial aid renewal before answering anonymously submitted student questions. Associate Director of Financial Aid Alex Muro and Assistant Directors of Financial Aid Travis Conn and Toni Abildgaard were also available to answer questions through the chat feature of the webinar.
“I really wanted to host this event because I want students to see the Financial Aid Office as a place where students can get their questions answered, in a stress-free environment,” Avonce said. “I think info sessions like these are very interactive and really help to normalize and demystify the financial aid process.”
The Financial Aid Working Group is a seven-member body of students that regularly meets with members of the Office of Financial Aid to discuss potential reforms to the University’s financial aid policies, according to director Sammy Landino ’21.
Avonce said that the idea for hosting an information session was developed at a meeting of the Financial Aid Working Group. However, Wallace-Juedes has been interested in hosting an interactive financial aid event to help clarify the process of financial aid renewal for “quite some time,” according to Avonce.
“This idea didn’t come from Scott because he thought there were certain things that people specifically had issues with,” Landino said. “This was more just like a catch-all session. Whatever people wanted to get clarified, Scott was here to help.”
Wallace-Juedes began the event by going over the timeline of the financial aid renewal process, explaining that the priority deadline for returning students to submit their financial aid applications to the Office of Financial Aid is May 9.
While there is no penalty for submitting an application after this deadline, Wallace-Juedes urged students to submit their applications before this date.
“The reason for that deadline is so we have time to review your application, review things that may be new in your application from year to year, get a financial aid offer prepared for you and sent out in time for you to be able to make some decisions about financing your next semester,” Wallace-Juedes said.
Wallace-Juedes also noted that this deadline applies only to United States citizens and permanent residents. International students are not required to reapply for financial aid assessment, although Wallace-Juedes said that they may choose to do so if their family financial situations have dramatically changed over the course of the academic year.
The general financial aid application for returning students requires the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, the College Scholarship Service profile, signed copies of all 2019 tax returns for both the student and their parents and the Yale Application for Undergraduate Financial Aid.
According to Wallace-Juedes, the primary reasons for a student’s financial aid award to change between years include a sibling entering or leaving undergraduate studies, changes to a parent’s income, a student no longer receiving an outside scholarship or changes to assets for either a parent or a student.
During the information session, both Avonce and Wallace-Juedes encouraged students to reach out to the Financial Aid Office directly with questions about the financial aid process.
Avonce noted that the financial aid process can be especially overwhelming for first-generation, low-income students.
“It is kind of a natural instinct for me to try to figure things out on my own and not reach out for support at all. And I know a lot of FGLI students can relate,” Avonce said. “I hope that students take away from this info session that there are friendly faces at the Financial Aid Office who care about us and want to support us, no matter how big or small our questions are, and that we don’t have to try to solve things on our own.”
Lucy Hodgman | firstname.lastname@example.org