Financial Aid for Prospective Students In-Depth

“We want to attract the most promising students from all economic backgrounds to Yale.”

- Richard C. Levin, President 1993-2013, Yale University

We believe that a Yale education should not be limited to only those who can afford the full cost of attendance. By committing to an admissions policy that does not consider a student’s ability to pay, and by meeting the full financial need of all admitted students (with no loans required), we ensure that Yale is accessible to the most talented students from around the world, regardless of their family’s income. With this pledge, we strive to create a learning environment that incorporates the widest possible range of student backgrounds. In fact, Yale is one of the most affordable colleges in the country for families making less than $200,000 in annual income - significantly less expensive than attending a top public university, even as an in-state student.

In addition to the resources here, prospective students and their families should explore the detailed information available from Student Financial Services, including the Yale Net Price Calculator. This simple web-based tool can estimate your family’s eligibility for need-based aid and generate a sample Yale award in only a few minutes.

We know that the financial aid process can seem complicated and even a bit daunting. But rest assured that we are here to help. You can use the resources here to familiarize yourself with the process. And if you are considering applying to Yale – or if you are currently in the process of applying – you are welcome to contact Student Financial Services directly with your questions. 


Yale Financial Aid 101:

  • Yale is committed to a need-blind admissions policy and meets 100% of demonstrated need for all students regardless of citizenship.
  • Yale does not require students to take out loans for their education. Instead, Yale meets 100% of demonstrated need for all admitted students with a financial aid package consisting of need-based scholarships, term-time employment, and a student income contribution.
  • The average Yale Scholarship grant for members of the Class of 2016 was $39,883 for the 2012-2013 school year.
  • The total cost of attendance at Yale for 2013-2014 is $60,900, which includes tuition ($44,000), room ($7,430), board ($6,070), and books and personal expenses ($3,400). Total cost of attendance (not just tuition) is used to calculate a student's need-based financial aid award.
  • Roughly 55% of Yale students receive need-based financial aid.
  • Families whose total gross income is less than $65,000 are not expected to make any financial contribution towards their child’s Yale education. 100% of the student’s total cost of attendance will be financed with a Yale Financial Aid Award.
  • Families earning between $65,000 and $200,000 (with typical assets) annually contribute a percentage of their yearly income towards their child’s Yale education, on a sliding scale that begins at 1% just above $65,000 and moves toward 20% at the $200,000 level.
  • There is no strict income cutoff for financial aid awards. Many families with over $200,000 in annual income receive need-based aid from Yale.

The Yale Financial Aid Package

Similar to admission to Yale, which includes a holistic evaluation of all parts of the admissions application, applying for financial aid at Yale is a highly individualized process. Financial aid officers review every student’s aid application carefully to ensure they understand each family’s individual financial situation. While each financial aid award is tailored to a specific family, here’s a general introduction to what you can expect from a Yale financial aid package.

The Award

Every financial aid calculation consists of three interconnected parts:

  1. Cost of Attendance: Tuition, room, board, books, travel expenses and personal expenses for one Yale student for one full academic year.
  2. Expected Family Contribution: The amount a student’s family is expected to contribute towards the cost of a Yale education. Yale financial aid officers calculate this number every year based on the information you provide.
  3. Demonstrated Financial Need: The amount that remains after a family’s Expected Family Contribution is subtracted from the Cost of Attendance.

Cost of Attendance - Expected Family Contribution = Demonstrated Financial Need

Meeting Demonstrated Financial Need

A Yale financial aid award will meet 100% of a student’s Demonstrated Financial Need using two components:

  1. The Student Self-Help Contribution – which students typically fulfill with term-time work of about nine to ten hours per week. The self-help contribution is $2,800 per year for the 2013-2014 academic term.
  2. The Yale Scholarship - covering the full amount of the remaining balance.

No loans are ever required

The Self-Help Contribution is typically met by working on Yale’s campus, where minimum wage is currently $12.00 an hour. Student jobs are available in academic departments, laboratories, and administrative offices on campus.

The Yale Scholarship is a need-based grant from the university. This can vary from a few thousand dollars to over $50,000 per year. Over 55% of the Class of 2016 received a Yale Scholarship. Their average award was  $39,883 for the 2012-2013 school year. 

Funds from outside merit-based scholarship awards can be used to reduce or eliminate a student’s Self-Help Contribution and the Student Income Contribution (see below). Funds from need-based or entitlement sources such as the federal Pell Grant, state grants, and tuition benefits or grants from a parent’s employer are applied in conjunction with the Yale Scholarship and do not reduce student’s Self-Help Contribution or the Student Income Contribution.

Understanding Expected Family Contribution (EFC)

Yale calculates EFC using its own methodology. This takes into account more variables and results in significantly lower EFCs for lower- and middle-income families when compared with those generated by the FAFSA or College Board calculator alone. The Yale formula considers factors such as:

  • Parents’ income
  • Parents’ assets (cash, savings, home equity, other real estate and investments)
  • Family size
  • Number of children attending college
  • Student’s income
  • Student’s assets (cash, savings, trusts, and other investments)

Yale also evaluates other circumstances, such as exceptional medical expenses, on a case-by-case basis.

The Expected Family Contribution is broken down into three parts:

  1. Parental Contribution: The amount parent(s) or guardian(s) are expected to pay towards a student’s Yale education. 
  2. Student Income Contribution: A predetermined student contribution that can be met with summer earnings.
  3. Student Asset Contribution: Students with their own financial assets will be asked to contribute 25% of those assets each year.

Yale Financial Aid Calculator

In addition to the resources here, prospective students and their families should explore the detailed information available from Student Financial Services, including the Yale Net Price Calculator. This simple web-based tool can provide a rough estimate of your family’s eligibility for need-based aid and generate a sample Yale award in only a few minutes.

Who Qualifies for Financial Aid?

Most Yale students qualify for a need-based financial aid award. The table below shows average parental contributions for families with various levels of income who applied for financial aid. Students also make a modest contribution from summer and term-time job earnings. Read more about the Yale Financial Aid Package above.

Annual Income Range Percentage Who Qualified for Aid (2011-2012) Average Grant (From All Sources)* Average Parental Contribution Number of Families at Yale (2011-2012)
<$65,000 100% $50,000 $0 790**
$65,000-$100,000 100% $46,000 $3,100 567
$100,000-$150,000 99% $38,000 $11,300 745
$150,000-$200,000 99% $26,500 $22,500 505

Individual family situations can vary from the averages listed above, depending on income sources and the amount of family assets. Go to Yale's Net Price Calculator to enter your family's information and receive a more precise estimate of your family's cost of attendance. For international students, financial aid packages take into account multiple factors including the local economy, which may result in different averages than those listed above. A Yale financial aid award will always meet 100% of a student's demonstrated financial need, regardless of citizenship.

*All Sources include Yale's need-based scholarship and other need-based aid sources such as Pell Grants, Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants, and state grants.

** Due to either extraordinary assets or university policies related to the calculation of incomes earned in currencies other than US dollars, an additional 108 families who had estimated incomes below $65,000 did not qualify for a $0 parental contribution. These families' unique circumstances resulted in significantly varied parental contributions.

How to Apply for Aid

To ensure that students benefit from the full range of available financial aid, Yale requires the completion of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, which is used to determine eligibility for federal and state grants as well as the low-interest Federal Direct Loan program.

Institutional aid is a substantial component of the financial aid package for most Yale College students, and the CSS Profile, along with FAFSA, is required to determine eligibility for Yale scholarships. The CSS Profile provides an automatic fee waiver for applicants from low-income families with few assets.

To apply for aid, most prospective students and their families will need to send three documents to the Student Financial Services Office. See the detailed instructions on the Student Financial Services website for more information.

  1. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) Yale’s FAFSA code is 001426
  2. The College Board CSS Profile Application Yale’s CSS Profile code is 3987
  3. Signed copies of your parents’ 2013 federal tax returns submitted through the College Board’s Imaging and Documentation Service.

There is no deadline to apply for aid, but we strongly recommend submitting these documents before March 1st to ensure that, if admitted, you have an award letter generated before making your matriculation decision by May 1st.