Sofie Fenner calls for a real discussion on financial aid:
For the first time, my financial situation cast a shadow not only on my term-time schedule, my daily expenses, and my summer plans, but also on my life after college. Most agonizingly, it was all my choice — compromise my academic experience now or my post-graduation financial freedom? I thought of my friends at less expensive public institutions, receiving a fine education for a fraction of the price I pay. Would Yale be worth summers of working minimum-wage jobs just to buy a plane ticket back to New Haven? Would it be worth the months or years I’ll spend paying off my student loans?
Yet even as I deliberated, I was keenly aware of how lucky I am. Though the family contribution amounts to a considerable fraction of their annual income, my parents are willing to pay it. I have never been forced to miss out on a class because the books were too expensive. I even have enough money to go home for most breaks. If I find myself wondering whether Yale is worth the compromises I have to make to stay here, others must be wrestling with even more serious compromises and more difficult decisions. I wonder what they’re thinking, how they manage their responsibilities, and what impact their financial aid packages affect their lives. I felt unusually alone while signing my loan application; I knew many others at Yale were in similar situations, but had heard little from them. For many reasons, such issues tend to go unmentioned; these challenges and students’ responses to them go largely unshared.