Today’s YDN reports a win for financial aid reform:
The University will likely soon unveil additions to undergraduate financial aid that would provide students currently receiving aid with funding to cover the costs of summer study abroad programs, Yale College Dean Peter Salovey said Monday. If discussions among top administrators continue to move forward, Salovey said, the final details will likely be ironed out as early as February — just as Yale students are finalizing their summer plans. The idea that all students, including those on financial aid, should be able to participate in costly foreign study opportunities was first articulated in the Committee for Yale College Education’s 2003 curriculum review. But discussions became “especially serious” last summer, when the University developed plans to bolster study abroad options in nations such as India and China, he said…
Currently Yale does not provide any need-based financial aid to students studying overseas during the summer months, although the University does fund study abroad options during the academic year for financial aid students. The administration is now soliciting ideas about ways to implement such an aid program from a variety of standing committees on international education, admissions and financial aid, and a new committee on programs in China that Salovey appointed in November. But Yale’s top administrators will make final budgetary decisions, Salovey said…The total cost of funding summer study abroad for financial aid students has not yet been determined, Salovey said. Although officials have not yet identified a source of the funding, Salovey said he thinks this would be an “attractive gift opportunity” for alumni and major donors of the University.
And Alexis Wolff reflects on financial aid’s role in her four years here:
To pay my self-help requirement for four years, I will have worked (at $10/hour) a total of 1,680 hours. (And that’s assuming I needed no spending money.) Work-study jobs have allowed me to refine my secretarial and cataloguing skills, but I am finding myself under-qualified as I contemplate my post-Yale life. Perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised: My more affluent Yale classmates had at least 1,680 more hours to dedicate to their classes, reading The Wall Street Journal or writing poetry. (No matter how great my innate poetry skills, whom would you predict to be the better poet — me, or the kid with 1,680 more hours of practice?) Yale’s current self-help requirement does not make extracurricular activities impossible, but it makes them difficult. My freshman year, I spent approximately 20 hours a week writing for the Yale Daily News. I compensated for the time financially by filling my self-help through loans. By the end of the year, however, I had depleted my high school savings and had no spending money, so sophomore year I had to get a job. I have worked 10 to 20 hours a week since then.
Yale didn’t technically prevent me from juggling work and the YDN, or from joining the Dramat or Dwight Hall Ex-Comm. But like many students who come from low-income families, I felt guilty for forsaking work for a selfish activity. Once I started to earn money, I couldn’t turn back. The UOC’s platform, which can be viewed at http://www.petitiononline.com/yaleaid/petition.html, proposes cutting self-help in half and paying students on financial aid to participate in certain extracurricular activities. Searching for jobs, I realized my selection is more limited than that of my classmates, because I have loan payments due. Even though I chose to work rather than to pay my self-help contribution entirely through loans, I have still incurred debt much higher than Yale’s current financial aid policy would lead you to believe. Although Yale requires only the parental contribution recommended by a student’s FASFA-generated Student Aid Report, the SAR does not consider that when a family lives hand-to-mouth, things come up. This year, for example, my mom could only produce half of her required contribution, so I had to take out additional loans.