Fareed Salmon, Contributing Photographer

In 2026, Yale’s contract with CSC ServiceWorks is expected to terminate — a change that might mark a turning point in students’ longstanding efforts to secure free laundry from the University. 

CSC ServiceWorks is the laundry contracting service that is responsible for machine maintenance at Yale. Marisa Figueira, director of operations for the Yale College Dean’s Office and Faculty of Arts and Sciences, told the News that in August 2026, when the University’s contract with CSC is set to end, the University will begin the “request for proposal” process, where laundry vendors will present bids for a contract. 

Free laundry may not come with a switch in contractors, but the switch opens up discussion for improving Yale’s laundry systems, a central source of student ire, namely in terms of the cost of laundry and the cleanliness of laundry spaces. 

“The termination of the CSC contract is a pretty big deal for us and gives us hope, but we worry that the new contractor might not bring free laundry,” Emily Hettinger ’26, a Yale College Council senator, wrote to the News. 

Viktor Kagan ’24, who is co-leading the laundry advocacy effort with Hettinger, wrote that, unlike Hettinger, “the ending does not signify a win to him.” Both Hettinger and Kagan expressed disappointment that Pericles Lewis, the dean of Yale College, and the Yale College Dean’s Office do not seem to be taking steps toward free laundry.

Lewis said that there are insufficient funds for free laundry. Instead, the termination of CSC’s contract serves as “an opportunity for us to review how [CSC ServiceWorks] is doing and whether we want to make any changes,” he said. 

Lewis told the News that the financial aid package sent to students includes costs for unbilled expenses, which applies to laundry services. 

At Yale, students pay $1.50 for each laundry cycle, or $3 to wash and dry a load of laundry. Figueira wrote that this cost is “below industry (and local laundromat) standards.”

The cost of laundry has long been a source of student outcry, with YCC members negotiating with the Yale administration to change the policy for free and clean laundry for years. Many representatives have also included laundry policy changes in their platforms during past YCC elections. 

Hettinger said that she has been at least the third YCC member to take on the laundry advocacy role which “in itself demonstrates how long and drawn out this fight for free laundry has been.” 

While Lewis said there are currently not enough funds for free laundry, he said that he will be evaluating funding now that the contract is ending. 

“I don’t have the funds available to do that now, but we’ll be looking at the funding model when we consider renewal or switching the contract,” Lewis said. “I don’t want to promise anything because it’s a fairly expensive investment on the part of the Dean’s Office.”

Lewis emphasized programs the YCDO is currently funding, including Yale College Community Care and subsidizing student formal ticket costs

He did not explicitly rule out free laundry in the future. 

“After extensive work, it has become clear that the Dean is waiting for the YCC to forget about the progress on the issue and restart the progress made over the last three years,” Kagan wrote. “Each year, we provide data, images, and testimony of the inequity of charging for laundry, especially when the contractor does not maintain its machines and they are filled with mold, destroy clothing, and do not function properly.” 

Student outcry around laundry on campus has not just been about costs, but it has also focused on the cleanliness of laundry rooms, as well as the responsiveness of CSC. 

Kagan also pointed out that Dartmouth College recently terminated their CSC contract and switched to free laundry last year amid similar complaints over cleanliness. Dartmouth chose to end its contract with CSC ServiceWorks early due to complaints from students living on campus, ranging from failing machines to moldy washers, according to The Dartmouth

Kagan said that the CSC laundry machines are “both an equity issue and a health one,” writing that “the company disregards most, if not all, requests for support from students.”

Figueira wrote that CSC’s average response time is two days, but that the YCDO knows of instances when the response window was “significantly” outside that time frame and works with CSC to address the issue. She also emphasized that laundry users should submit service tickets when they see an issue, as there is “no concern” with creating multiple tickets.

“In partnership with the Director of Student Administrative Services, Yale College has worked with CSC to increase the frequency of preventative maintenance beyond the contract terms,” Figueira wrote. “The custodial team has also taken on additional support in the laundry rooms. They were already washing the floors and now also wiping down the machines.”  

CSC did not respond to a request for comment from the News.

Yale is one of three Ivy League universities — along with Harvard University and Cornell University — that does not offer free laundry services to students. 

TRISTAN HERNANDEZ
Tristan Hernandez is the 147th Editor in Chief and President of the Yale Daily News. He previously served as a copy editor and covered student policy & affairs and student life for the University desk. Originally from Austin, Texas, he is a junior in Pierson College majoring in political science.
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