Ellie Park, Photography Editor

Yale College Council Vice President Maya Fonkeu’s ’25 “Why Yale” is about more than just the school’s academic programs and offerings. For her, the Yale experience extends beyond the classroom to quintessential Yale events: first-year formal, Spring Fling and the Yale-Harvard game, to name a few.

However, many of these events have associated costs attached to them, making them inaccessible to students who are unable to pay

“For someone to not be able to financially participate in these events which are so uniquely ‘Yale,’ well, that’s really sad and disheartening,” Fonkeu told the News. “So we’re really happy that the University administration is working with us to make these Yale traditions more accessible to all Yale students.” 

This year, the Yale College Council — led by Fonkeu alongside Yale College Council, or YCC, President Julian Suh-Toma ’25 — partnered with the Yale College Dean’s office to begin making some of these special Yale events more accessible to all students, regardless of their ability to pay. 

Suh-Toma told the News that the Dean’s Office authorized grants of approximately $20,000 to each grade’s college council to subsidize the cost of tickets for students. This money came from Dean Lewis’ yearly budget, according to Suh-Toma.

“Students shouldn’t have to worry about whether or not they can afford to enjoy a night out with their friends,” Suh-Toma said. 

Suh-Toma said that in the past, tickets for these events — including first-year formal, sophomore formal and a junior formal this year — have ranged in cost from $15 to $20. 

Ticket costs in the past have been associated with paying for the event venue, security, DJ’s and decorations. Suh-Toma added that even if the event is held in a Yale space, such as the Schwarzman Center, the YCC still must pay.

Both Suh-Toma and Fonkeu added that the previous prices of formal tickets were set for the YCC to break even and that the YCC was not making a profit from sales. 

This year, besides the traditional first-year formal, there are also formal events for the sophomore and junior class. The sophomore formal, themed “Rhapsody in Blue,” was held at the Omni Hotel on Jan. 26. This has historically not been done, according to the Sophomore Class Council. The junior “Bridgerton Ball” will be held later in the semester, also at the Omni Hotel. 

“YCC Events has always tried to make our events as accessible as possible,” last year’s First-Year College Council President and this year’s Sophomore Class Council President Mimi Papathanasopoulos ’26 wrote to the News. “Being able to sell tickets at such a subsidized cost this year was a huge win.”

At least year’s first-fear formal — the “Regency Ball” — tickets cost $20 to attend. This year, both first-year and sophomore class formal tickets only cost $5. 

The same will be true for this year’s first-year formal, held in the Schwarzman Center on Feb. 23. 

“My friends and I wanted an excuse to dress up and with just a five dollar ticket, we figured we’d totally stop by,” Sophomore Samantha Mayol ’26 told the News. Mayol did not attend last year’s first-year formal due to cost. 

The Yale College Council was founded in 1972. 

Kaitlyn Pohly is a sophomore in Silliman College. She serves as the Student Life Reporter for the University Desk and previously reported on Student Policy and Affairs. Originally from New York City, Kaitlyn is a History major. Outside of the classroom and the newsroom, Kaitlyn dances with YaleDancers.