FINANCIAL health

+ PARTNERSHIP WITH LYFT/UBER FOR SUBSIDIZED TRANSPORTATION.

Transportation, especially during breaks, presents a significant financial burden for students. We will partner with Lyft + Uber to offer Yale students Lyft + Uber credits for transportation around the New Haven area as well as to/from airports. We will also partner with Lyft to offer discounts for rides to/from Union Station.

In addition to that, we will create a more formal + streamlined process for students to create rideshare pools that allow them to share rides for flights, trains, etc, that are at similar times. To do this, we will work with technology + entrepreneurship organizations on campus, such as the Yale Computer Society and the Yale Entrepreneurial Society, to create a web application or mobile application for such Uber pools.

+ SUBSIDIZED STORAGE OVER THE SUMMER + BREAKS

In order to reduce storage costs, we will continue the work of past YCC members to advocate for summer storage in residential colleges + partnership with New Haven storage companies. Providing subsidized storage in residential colleges over the summer saves students the burden of finding external storage companies. We will work with Dean Chun to set standardized storage fees of no more than $8 per box, allowing students to store up to 3 boxes over the summer. For students who need more than 3 boxes, we will develop a partnership with New Haven storage companies for subsidized storage that is near Yale campus.

+ INCREASE FINANCIAL AID TRANSPARENCY

Students arrive at Yale with many questions about financial aid but often do not know who to turn to. Additionally, many FGLI students report receiving their refunds incredibly late or receiving financial aid that was calculated incorrectly.

We will aim to host monthly informational sessions regarding the application process for financial aid, interpreting your financial aid award, breakdown of required documents, + more. We will advocate for faster response rates from the financial aid office as well as host weekly drop-in office hours with a financial aid representative for students to ask questions. We will also ensure that information is updated frequently on the financial aid website.

We will continue to support the work of the Financial Aid Working Group to appoint the Equity Director to meet biweekly with the Dean of Undergraduate Admissions + the Director of Financial Aid.

+ ESTABLISH FUNDS FOR STUDENT ORGANIZATIONS SUPPORTING NEW HAVEN

Several Yale student organizations are committed to social justice + advocacy work, but may lack the financial resources needed to carry out the work. We will commit to using YCC internal budget to set aside funds for student activists + organizers. Any organization that seeks to support New Haven or Connecticut will be made eligible for this stipend.

 

+ ESTABLISH STIPEND PROGRAMS FOR LAUNDRY, TEXTBOOKS, PRINTING, GRADUATE SCHOOL FEES, STORAGE, + STEM & ART SUPPLIES

Yale offers little to no financial assistance for the high cost of laundry, printing, course supplies, + graduate school application fees. The Safety Net only offers money to “high need students” in regard to textbooks. The current textbook stipend model should be adapted to accommodate graduate school fees, storage, printing, laundry, + course supplies. We will alter the program in two ways: (1) in terms of the number of students receiving the stipend + the amount of money given per stipend; (2) in terms of the system for choosing students, such that we work with the Office of Financial Aid to verify financial aid status + thus ensure that the funds are going to those students who need it most.

+ REDUCE DIGITAL TRANSCRIPT FEES.

Currently, ordering an official Yale transcript is laced with fees. A digital transcript for Yale College + Yale Summer Session costs $8. Mailing a paper transcript through the USPS costs $10.50, or $13 for international students (a baseline fee of $8 plus an additional $2.50 for domestic delivery or $5.00 for international delivery). Mailing transcripts through FedEx Delivery costs an additional $25 per transcript in the United States, + $47.50 for international delivery.

Students should not be obligated to pay $8 for a digital copy when applying for graduate schools, scholarships, or other programs, especially when many programs already require application fees. At first glance, $8 might not seem like much of a burden. However, costs quickly add up as students seek jobs, internships, or other programs throughout the year. This issue is especially prominent this year, as the number of students looking for outside opportunities has increased due to the pandemic at the same time family finances have been thrown into disarray.

A number of peer institutions, including Dartmouth, Cornell, Stanford, + Columbia, have recognized this burden + chosen to offer free digital transcripts.

We believe that Yale should do the same. We will advocate to cut transcript costs in half, award students one free transcript per semester, + earn an additional free transcript when they are graduating.

+ DROP THE COURSE WITHDRAWAL FEE. 

Students, especially FGLI students, are burdened with a plethora of academic fees, one of them being the course withdrawal fee. Students should not be penalized to pay $20 for dropping a course in order to focus on their mental health or prioritize their time differently.

+ INCREASE ACCESS TO YALE SUMMER SESSION COURSES

FGLI students are largely unable to access Yale Summer Session courses. Due to the high cost of Yale Summer Session classes that financial aid does not cover, FGLI students are excluded from taking YSS Summer courses, a problem that has gone on for years + has only been exacerbated by the effects of the pandemic.

The costs of Summer Session courses are astounding. Students are only eligible for up to 50% off for a maximum of two Summer Session courses + as a result pay $2,250 for a one-credit course, or $4,500 for two one-credit courses.  To cover the remaining costs, students have two options: low-interest loans or Summer Pell Grants. The former is difficult for students from financially disadvantaged backgrounds, and the latter excludes low-income individuals who do not qualify for the Pell Grant. In addition, this tuition assistance does not cover the cost of room + board. If a student would like both of these covered, they must seek employment as a YSS Residential Staff, which places an additional burden on students.

Students who identify as low-income are often obligated to support their family financially in ways that can include working additional jobs to pay for tuition, food, or housing. In order to pay for just one Summer Session course, a student earning minimum wage must work several months. Furthermore, thousands of families lost their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic, which inevitably places a larger burden on low-income students who must work additional hours to support their families.

+ We will appoint an Equity Director + create a FGLI committee to meet biweekly with the Office of Financial Aid + the Office of Undergraduate Admissions to discuss the solutions listed below.

We seek to make sure that the right people are appointed to discuss the solutions listed below.
 

  1. Yale Summer Session Financial Aid is calculated based on student’s Expected Family Contribution. 
    The school year financial aid is calculated according to the Expected Family Contribution so that students receive the appropriate financial aid. This should be the same for Yale Summer Session courses. For instance, students who receive full financial aid during the school year should receive 100% financial aid for Summer Session courses.

  2. Yale Summer Session technology fee should be waived
    All students must pay for the $85 technology fee, which is an unnecessary burden that is coupled with the high costs of Summer Session courses. These costs should be 1) included in the tuition so financial aid is included accordingly or 2) waived completely.

  3. Summer Experience Award Reform can be applied to Yale Summer Session classes permanently.
    In the summer of 2020, many accommodations were made for students who, due to the effects of the pandemic, had nothing constructive to do over the three month break. These accommodations notably included allowing students to apply their DSA (now SEA) to Yale Summer Session courses, which addressed the inability of FGLI students to access YSS classes. The summer of 2021, similarly to the summer of 2020, promises to have few options for students. Like last summer, internships, jobs, + study abroad opportunities are incredibly difficult to secure due to COVID-19, + once again Yale students may be left looking for something they can do remotely. Yale students should have the opportunity to pursue studies in the summer, but currently this is only possible for students who can afford the several thousand dollars not covered by financial aid. The following proposals would increase access to Yale Summer Session courses, especially for those who identify as first-generation and/or low-income.

+ CREATE PEER LIAISON AND PRE-ORIENTATION PROGRAM FOR FGLI STUDENTS AND SUPPORT EXISTING FGLI PROGRAMS

Pre-orientation programs, like Cultural Connections, FOCUS, Harvest, + FOOT, as well as peer liaisons from cultural centers, aim to ease the transition for first-years. However, there is no pre-orientation or peer liaison program specifically for FGLI students. First Year Scholars at Yale is a summer program for incoming FGLI first years, but it is limited to only approximately 72 students. We will work with FSY Coordinator Michael Fitzpatrick + Dean Burgwell Howard to establish such programs so all FGLI students at Yale earn the support they need to transition to Yale.

 

+ SUPPORT SUN TO ELIMINATE STUDENT INCOME CONTRIBUTION. 

We strongly believe that the Student Income Contribution (SIC) is an unnecessary financial burden for students. We will support the work of Students Unite Now activists by leveraging YCC outreach to the student body + connections with administrators.

 

+ EXPAND SAFETY NET INFRASTRUCTURE.

According to the Yale Safety Net website, “In 2018-19, approximately 50% of requests were funded, or solved with a loan of equipment.” We hope to increase the number of requests that are funded + expand Safety Net to cover the costs of replacement technological equipment, graduate school fees, + STEM + art supplies. To do so, we will work with Dean Howard + the Undergraduate Financial Aid Office.
 

+ REFORM THE OUTSIDE SCHOLARSHIP POLICY TO INCLUDE THE PURCHASE OF NON-COMPUTER RELATED EXPENSES. 

The current outside scholarship policy is not clearly stated on the financial aid office website + only allows students to use up to $2,500 to purchase a computer-related expense. First, we will work with the financial aid office to increase transparency by outlining + publishing the outside scholarship policy on the financial aid website. Then, we will advocate to expand the outside scholarship policy to include the purchase of electronics such as tablets. We will also advocate to increase the limit from $2,500 to $3,000.

+ SUPPLY SUBSIDIZED LAPTOPS OR OTHER ELECTRONICS IN THE CASE OF EMERGENCY ELECTRONIC MALFUNCTION

Currently, Safety Net does not cover the cost of a laptop replacement. We will work with the Financial Aid Office + Dean Howard to have subsidized and/or free laptops for students who experience emergency malfunctions + are unable to complete their studies. 

+ INCLUDE TEXTBOOK COSTS IN FINANCIAL AID FOR FIRST-YEAR STUDENTS.

All Brown University first-year undergraduates currently receive free textbooks. We aim to implement a similar program by collaborating with Brown to allow Yale to create + adopt a similar model of their program that covers textbook + course material costs for first-year students with financial need, with the hope of eventually expanding the model for all class years. In order to do this, we will work with the Office of Academic Affairs + Undergraduate Financial Aid Office to develop a pilot program.

+ SUPPORT THE FINANCIAL AID WORKING GROUP’S GOALS

The YCC Equity Chair currently serves as a liaison to the Financial Aid Working Group, which meets with the Dean of Undergraduate Admissions and Director of Financial Aid. We will continue to support the Financial Aid Working Group’s goals of 1) African International Students Tax Reimbursement; 2) No Student Share; 3) Financial Aid Literacy Workshops/Modules; and 4) Reconsideration of Home Equity Valuation.

+ CREATE AN FGLI HANDBOOK FOR STUDENTS

YCC has created handbooks for first-year students, mental health, + more. However, there is currently no FGLI handbook available. This FGLI handbook would include financial aid resources at Yale, budgeting, finding mentors, + more. The hope is that this document will be an ever-evolving document that allows fellow FGLI students to continually add, contribute, + edit it.