Finally, some real movement on financial aid:

Yale President Richard Levin announced substantial changes to Yale’s undergraduate financial aid policy this morning, eliminating the expected parental contribution for families with incomes less than $45,000. Families with incomes between $45,000 and $60,000 can also expect to see the University reduce their required contributions, Levin said. The University also announced greater funding for international student travel and a larger recruitment effort for low-income students. The Yale Corporation approved the changes at its meeting last weekend, he said. Yale’s decision follows a move Harvard University made last year to eliminate parental contributions for low-income families. “We think we are announcing an important message for low income families in America and throughout the world, that Yale is accessible,” Levin said.

Levin said he did not make up his mind to eliminate the parental contribution until after an open forum on financial aid sponsored by the Yale College Council last week. At the forum last week and at a later sit-in at the admissions office, students protested the University’s previous financial aid policies and called on Levin sharply reduce both the parental contribution and student selfelp portions of aid. Levin said he considered eliminating the student self-help contribution this year as well, but the University’s budget would not allow him to enact both changes simultaneously. “It’s not possible this year to do both,” Levin said. “This seemed like the better option.” Yale College Dean Peter Salovey said he thinks the reduction in parental contributions will alleviate the burden on students at Yale because many of the students working long hours on campus are doing so to help pay off their family’s expected contribution. “Students have explicitly told us these stories,” Salovey said.

The University also announced this morning an increase in the student budget for international students, allowing them one free trip home each year. Currently the University picks up the tab for one trip home over four years for each international student. Earlier this month, Yale officials announced a program to fund Yale-approved summer study and internships abroad for undergraduate financial aid recipients, the first program of its kind at a top American university. Yale officials said this morning that they will also intensify student recruitment in low-income areas across the country by initiating direct mail and e-mail campaigns, and encouraging current Yale students to visit high schools in low-income districts when they return home.

We made clear last week that moving on either the student or the family contribution is not enough. So there’s more work to do.


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