Dean of Yale College Marvin Chun and Dean of Undergraduate Admissions and Financial Aid Jeremiah Quinlan have announced a new expansion of Yale’s financial aid policies that will go into effect for the 2022–2023 academic year. The most significant change reduces the student share — the amount that students are expected to contribute towards their Yale education — by 34% for most students receiving financial aid.
Under the new policy, a need-based Yale scholarship and an affordable parent share expectation will cover the full cost of tuition, housing, meals, and travel for all families receiving aid, said Scott Wallace-Juedes, director of undergraduate financial aid. Yale will expect students to cover only the cost of their own books and personal expenses, such as outings, laundry, and other necessities.
“This change represents a new investment of more than $3 million annually that will directly benefit undergraduates,” said Wallace-Juedes. “For a typical student receiving financial aid, the new policy will reduce costs and increase the amount of Yale Scholarship by $7,500 over four years.”
Meeting need, without loans
Yale College’s financial aid awards are calculated by assessing a family’s financial need relative to a comprehensive estimated cost of attendance that includes both billed and unbilled expenses for one academic year. Billed expenses include tuition, housing, and the meal plan; unbilled expenses include a personalized travel budget and a standardized estimate of $3,700 for the cost of books and personal expenses a student is likely to incur while on campus. That estimate works out to roughly $500 per semester for books and $100 per week for necessities and outings.
Every family whose income and assets demonstrate that they cannot afford the full cost of attendance receives a Yale financial aid award with three components: a Yale Scholarship grant, a parent share, and a student share. For the current academic year, 54% of students have received need-based grants from Yale, and the average grant is more than $60,000.
Under the newly announced policy, the student share will be set at $3,700 per year for all students receiving financial aid. Previously, the student share was $3,700 for students with high financial need, $4,450 for other first-year students on aid, and $5,950 for other upper-level students on aid.
Wallace-Juedes explained that $3,700 is an estimate — not a requirement — and that all families decide for themselves how to split costs between students and parents/guardians. Students who spend less than $3,700 during the academic year can plan to earn or contribute less toward expenses. Students who receive additional scholarship funds from outside sources can also receive up to $3,700 each year as a refund from Yale through their student account.
Yale College does not expect parents earning less than $75,000 annually — with typical assets — to make any contribution toward the cost of a child’s education. The financial aid awards for these families are known as zero parent share awards, and they cover the full cost of all billed expenses — tuition, housing, meal plan, and hospitalization insurance. Many students in families with annual incomes above $200,000 also qualify for need-based aid. Yale Scholarship grants range from a few thousand dollars to more than $80,000 per academic year. They are based entirely on a family’s financial need.
Increasing socio-economic diversity in Yale College
Jeremiah Quinlan, dean of undergraduate admissions and financial aid, expressed enthusiasm about the new policy and said he hopes it will help students from a more diverse range of backgrounds consider Yale.
“Reducing the student share simplifies the financial aid award and makes it easier to communicate with prospective students,” Quinlan said. “Need-based financial aid is — by its nature — complex, but we strive to communicate a clear message to all students: if you are admitted, cost will not be a barrier for your family.”
Quinlan pointed to some of the admissions office’s recent outreach efforts to promote Yale’s commitment to affordability, including a successful targeted postcard campaign, a web and social media strategy directing families to the MyinTuition Quick Cost Estimator, and a new affordability poster that was mailed to more than 24,000 high schools this fall.
According to Quinlan, these efforts — combined with the office’s use of the College Board’s Landscape tool, new programming for first-generation and low-income admitted students, and the recent financial aid enhancements — have significantly increased the socio-economic diversity of the undergraduate student body. The number of Yale College students receiving a federal Pell grant for low-income families has increased more than 70% since 2014 to more than 1,100 current undergraduates.
“Yale College’s generous financial aid policies enable our mission to educate exceptionally promising students of all backgrounds,” said Dean Chun. “Our aid program is among the country’s most expansive, and it facilitates the invaluable educational benefits that flow from enrolling a truly diverse community of students. I’m grateful to President Peter Salovey, Provost Scott Strobel, and numerous colleagues in the investments, budgeting, and financial aid offices. I want to also thank countless alumni, parents, and friends for their generous gifts.”
A history of increasing access and affordability
The new enhancements are the latest in a long line of policy changes that have made Yale more affordable to students from lower- and middle-income families.
Between 2006 and 2020, the average price paid by families receiving financial aid fell by 17% in nominal dollars and by 35% when adjusted for inflation, even as the Yale term bill has increased by 67% in nominal dollars. In 2005, 43% of Yale College students graduated with loan debt; last year only 15% of graduating seniors opted to take out a loan. Since 2006, the annual budget for Yale College financial aid has more than tripled, from $59 million to over $218 million.
In 1966, Yale became the first American private research university to adopt a need-blind admissions policy and a commitment to meet the full demonstrated financial need of every U.S. student who was admitted. Over the past 20 years, this commitment has expanded dramatically:
2001: Yale commits to meet the full financial need of all international students and undocumented students.
2008: Yale reduces average costs for families on aid by over 50%; increases scholarships to eliminate loans from financial aid awards; sets parent share at zero for families making less than $60,000 annually.
2010: Yale raises threshold for zero parent share awards to $65,000 in annual income.
2016: Yale reduces student share levels by 15%, creates $2,000 supplemental “startup grants” for low-income students with zero parent share awards.
2018 Yale further enhances zero parent share awards with hospitalization insurance coverage and a reduction in the student share.
2020: Yale raises threshold for zero parent share awards to $75,000 and further reduces the student share to $3,700 for students with these awards.
2021: Yale invests an additional $3 million annually to reduce student share level to $3,700 for all students receiving financial aid.
Prospective students can estimate their cost to attend Yale in less than three minutes with the online MyinTuition quick cost estimator.