Yale admissions office emphasizes affordability to local high schools
A recent poster that the Yale admissions office sent to high schools informs students about financial aid policies.
Jessie Cheung, Staff Photographer
A poster that the Yale admissions office recently sent to high schools across the nation emphasizes Yale’s affordability and its efforts to provide equitable access to higher education.
According to Mark Dunn, director of outreach and communications at the Office of Undergraduate Admissions, the poster was sent in early September to more than 24,000 high schools across the United States. The poster primarily highlights Yale’s need-based financial aid options and encourages students to use the MyinTuition college cost estimator. The poster includes a letter from Dean of Undergraduate Admissions Jeremiah Quinlan, describing Yale’s commitment to making higher education affordable and increase transparency about college costs.
“The admissions office is very proud of the progress we have made in enrolling an undergraduate student body that is significantly more socio-economic[ally] diverse than it was less than 10 years ago,” Dunn wrote in an email to the News. “That includes hundreds more students from lower-income backgrounds.”
This poster is the admissions office’s most recent attempt to increase outreach and improve understanding of Yale’s financial aid policies.
Previously, the office had used the Yale Ambassadors program, targeted postcards and numerous other strategies to advertise the affordability of a Yale education.
“We continually seek opportunities to improve and expand upon these efforts, and we do so with the confidence that our financial aid policies make a Yale College education affordable for everyone,” Dunn wrote.
To help prospective students and families estimate the cost of a Yale education, the Office of Undergraduate Financial Aid included a message on the poster encouraging the use of MyinTuition, an online cost calculator developed by Phillip Levine, a professor at Wellesley College. The calculator, which is used by 72 other colleges and universities, uses six questions about a family’s finances to generate a personalized estimate of the cost of attending college based on the need-based scholarship the student would receive.
Yale’s partnership with MyinTuition began in January 2018, and the calculator has proven to be popular. Yale’s MyinTuition estimator generated 58,843 cost estimates for users between April 1, 2020 and March 31, 2021, according to Dunn.
In his letter to prospective students, Quinlan urged students to use the cost calculator to decrease the confusion surrounding college financial aid policies.
“Longstanding misperceptions and high “sticker prices” understandably keep talented students from lower- and middle-income families from considering top colleges,” Quinlan wrote.
But some students have reported receiving inaccurate estimates from the MyinTuition cost estimator.
“The [calculator] was not reflective of how much I got originally,” Emily Shang ’25 said. “It said I would get much more aid than I was actually offered.”
A prior article explained that MyinTuition results were an estimate, but not a guarantee of aid. According to Dunn, the results are a “ballpark estimate” and the alternative Net Price Calculator, which can be found on the admissions office website, requires more time to complete and may provide a more precise estimate.
Dunn explained that through high school and student outreach programs, the Yale admissions office aims to convey to prospective students a simple message: Yale is affordable. These efforts have been “instrumental” in helping recognize talented students from “lower socio-economic status backgrounds,” Dunn explained.
Quinlan said that due to Yale’s financial aid policies, more than 85 percent of Yale students graduate debt-free. He added that the average Yale scholarship grant is more than $60,000 per year, which exceeds the cost of tuition.
“This poster shares an important message that many in your community may find hard to believe: attending an elite university like Yale costs less than a local state school for many families,” Quinlan wrote.
Quinlan’s message comes just as Yale announced multiple reforms to its financial aid policy, including an elimination of the student income contribution and coverage of the marginal tax rate for international students receiving scholarships that exceed tuition.
Even as Yale aims to help students navigate the complexities of financial aid, however, some students still report difficulties in understanding aid policies.
“It’s very confusing,” Shang said. “Even now, I’m trying to figure out how much sophomore aid I’m going to get.”
According to Quinlan, “the Office of Undergraduate Financial Aid encourages prospective students, admitted students and current students to reach out to the office with any and all questions about the financial aid award or any aspect of financing their Yale education.”
For more information on financial aid, students can visit the affordability section of Yale’s admissions website.
Update, Nov. 11: This story has been updated to include additional sourcing from Dunn.