The Times on yesterday’s aid reform:

Yale’s change comes after its students demanded financial relief, and is arguably more generous than many of the financial aid overhauls at other schools, public and private universities alike. The University of North Carolina, for instance, no longer requires students from families of four earning about $37,000 or less to take out any loans to cover school expenses. Rice did the same but set the income bar at $30,000. “We wanted to signal that we’re serious about access,” said Richard C. Levin, Yale’s president. He also said Yale would reduce what it expects parents earning between $45,000 and $60,000 to pay. Only about 15 percent of Yale students’ families earn little enough to benefit from the changes, but that is precisely the point, Mr. Levin said yesterday. The hope is that once low-income students know that going to Yale will not financially burden their families, more will apply. Longer-range hopes are for a more diverse Ivy League and a more equitable society…Taken together, the changes in financial aid and foreign study should cost Yale an extra $3 million in the first year, Mr. Levin said, and probably significantly more in the future if more low-income students enroll and more undergraduates travel abroad. Mr. Levin said the university’s endowment – which, at about $12.7 billion, is the nation’s second-largest – is probably the biggest single factor in making the changes possible.

While welcoming aspects of the new financial aid plan, some students contended that it did not go far enough, since it still requires low-income students to supply as much as $6,350 a year toward their educations through some combination of loans, work-study or summer jobs. The University of Virginia, by contrast, has not only stopped requiring loans for low-income students, but has also gotten rid of work-study, essentially giving them what the university calls “a full ride.” “After months of student pressure, it’s very heartening to finally see movement,” said Joshua R. Eidelson, 20, a Yale junior who joined a sit-in protest at the university’s admissions office last week seeking more financial aid. “But we’re going to be working to make sure that movement continues.”

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