Amay Tewari, Photo Editor

In recent years, Yale’s Office of Financial Aid has made several amendments to their aid policies and increased socio-economic diversity at the University.

In 2018, Yale added hospitalization insurance to full financial aid packages and reduced the student share. Two years later, the financial aid office raised the threshold for those receiving full aid — all students whose families earned up to $75,000 would not have to pay a parent share. After the University invested an additional $3 million in financial aid in 2021, Yale implemented several key financial aid enhancements. First, Yale reduced the student share by 34 percent, thus eliminating a cost student activists had dubbed the “student income contribution.” At the same time, Yale eliminated the marginal tax rate for international students and created a child care subsidy for student parents receiving financial aid. In November 2021, Yale committed to meeting 100 percent of demonstrated financial need for Eli Whitney students. 

“Yale’s financial aid policies aren’t perfect; there’s always going to be room for improvement,” Yale College Council Financial Aid Task Force Director Angela Avonce ’22 said. “But every time there is a new reform, a victory — big or small — I think it is worth celebrating.”

Yale is one of six US universities that meets 100 percent of a student’s demonstrated financial need. According to a census conducted earlier this year, an estimate of 54% of Yale College students receive need-based grants from Yale. The average grant is $60,403, which is less than the annual cost of tuition. The annual cost of tuition this year has been measured to be $62,250 and the cost of room and board living on-campus came out to be $18,450, coming out to a total of $80,700. 

Since 2020, Yale does not expect families with an annual income of $75,000 to pay any contribution to their children’s cost of education. These families have zero parent awards, and Yale University will cover the full cost billed expenses, including tuition, housing, meal plans, and hospitalization insurance. 

Yale’s financial aid office includes an “expected financial contribution,” an amount the student and their family are expected to contribute to the cost of attendance, in their award letters. The expected financial contribution has two components: a parent and student share. Historically, the student share has been a $3,700 estimate based on how much the office believes books and other quotidian expenses will cost. But for some, the amount exceeds $3,700 and can reach up to $5,950. Students colloquially refer to that surplus as the “Student Income Contribution,” though the Office of Financial Aid does not employ this moniker. 

Beginning next academic year, Yale will cap the student share for all students on financial aid as $3,700, therefore eliminating the student income contribution. Previously, only students on full financial aid received this benefit. 

“In addition to reducing costs and increasing Yale scholarship grants for current students, the reduction in the student share will help us communicate Yale’s commitment to affordability with prospective students,”  Dean of Undergraduate Admissions and Financial Aid Jeremiah Quinlan  said. “The change simplifies the financial aid award and helps us continue conveying a clear message to all students: if you are admitted, cost will not be a barrier for your family.”

Yale College also implemented two additional financial aid policies: the first helps to cover the marginal tax rate for international students receiving scholarships beyond tuition cost. This will help international students pay for room, board and personal expenses. 

Yale has offered need-based aid for international undergraduates since 2001; however, they were required to pay for the American taxes attached to scholarship money that exceeds their cost of tuition. This applied to costs that were included in the total cost of attendance but not tuition, including room and board or school supplies. Previously, Yale only covered this tax cost for the first two semesters of international students on need-based aid. However, the policy change expands the duration of the cost to cover all eight semesters of the student’s journey at Yale

The last policy change helps subsidize child care costs for Yale College students with dependents. Every student with a child under thirteen will receive $5,000 annually as well as an additional $1,000 per year if they have children under the age of six. This applies to students in the Yale College, but also extends its benefits to students in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. 

According to Mark Dunn, the director of outreach and communications at the Office of Undergraduate Admissions, this change will most likely benefit Eli Whitney students. The Eli Whitney Student Program — or EWSP — offers an undergraduate education for adult students with non-traditional college journeys. This program includes students that have served in the military, social activists, artists and others. Individuals are eligible to apply as an Eli Whitney student if they do not have a bachelor degree and have been out of high school for five years or more by their time of enrollment to Yale.                            

“We hope that adding dependent child care support will help those Yale College students caring for children [to] engage more fully in the undergraduate experience, and we hope that the tax support for international students will help simplify their finances and prevent surprise bills from the IRS,” Dunn said.

These reforms were the result of persistent discussion from the Financial Aid Working Group, a group founded by previous Provost Benjamin Polak in 2015. Members include the previous Dean of College Marvin Chun, Dean of Undergraduate Admissions and Financial Aid Jeremiah Quinlan, Director of Undergraduate Financial Aid Scott Wallace-Juedes and others. 

The Financial Aid Working Group also worked with the YCC Financial Aid Task Force to make these changes. The YCC Financial Aid Task Force primarily focuses on creating more financial equity at Yale. For example, they created an initiative that increased accessibility for students to discuss their financial aid in 2020. The change allowed students to set up appointments online and meet financial aid officers in person at 246 Church Street to discuss their aid. 

For the 2022-2023 school year, Yale will increase the term bill from $77,750 to $80,700, marking the first time the undergraduate cost of attendance has surpassed $80,000.

Ruth Lee covers Film and Literature for the Arts Desk, as well as writes for the Weekend and records for the Podcask Desk. From New York City, Ruth is a freshman in Timothy Dwight college, majoring in History and English.