Financial Aid In-Depth

“If you get into Yale, we feel sure that cost will not be a barrier in your decision to attend.”

Jeremiah Quinlan, Dean of Undergraduate Admissions

Yale is committed to an admissions policy that does not consider a student’s ability to pay, and a financial aid policy that meets the full need of all students with no loans required. These two principles: need-blind admissions and need-based financial aid, ensure that a Yale education is affordable for everyone, regardless of family background, citizenship, or immigration status. 

The Quick Cost Estimator is a good starting point for exploring what Yale’s need-based financial aid policies would mean for your family. In three minutes this simple web-based tool can provide a ballpark estimate of your family’s cost.

This page will introduce some of the specific policies and terminology associated with Yale’s financial aid process. Additional information is available on the Office of Undergraduate Financial Aid website.

Financial Aid Highlights

  • All of Yale’s undergraduate financial aid is awarded on the basis of financial need. Yale does not offer any merit-based scholarships.
  • Yale meets 100% of demonstrated financial need for all admitted students regardless of citizenship or immigration status. This includes undocumented students living in the US, with or without DACA status.
  • More than 50% of Yale students receive need-based aid from Yale and 64% receive financial assistance from Yale or an outside source.
  • Yale financial aid awards are based on the total cost of attendance, which includes tuition, room, board, books, and personal expenses.
  • Yale does not expect students to take out loans. Instead, Yale financial aid awards includes a Yale Scholarship, a parent contribution, and a small student contribution.
  • The average Yale Scholarship was approximately $52,800 for the 2018-2019 school year.
  • Families whose total gross income is less than $65,000 (with typical assets) are not expected to make a financial contribution towards their child’s Yale education.
  • Families earning between $65,000 and $200,000 (with typical assets) contribute a percentage of their yearly income towards their child’s Yale education, on a sliding scale that begins at 1% and moves toward 20%.
  • There is no income cutoff for financial aid awards. Some families with over $200,000 in annual income receive need-based aid from Yale.

Who Qualifies for Financial Aid?

The table below shows median financial aid awards for families of first-year students in the Class of 2021 who applied for aid. 

Annual Income Range

Median Net Cost*

Median Scholarship

Percentage Who Qualified for Aid

Less than $65,000




















Greater than $250,000**




*Net Cost is the difference between the Estimated Cost of Attendance (tuition, room, board, books, travel expenses and personal expenses) and a student’s scholarship grant(s) from all sources. Yale financial aid awards include a standardized Student Effort, which is an option to meet Net Cost. Scholarships from outside sources can reduce or eliminate the Student Effort. See additional details below. 

** Most who qualify have multiple children in college.

Understanding The Yale Financial Aid Award

Yale’s financial aid evaluation process is holistic. Financial aid officers review every aid application carefully to ensure they understand each family’s individual financial situation. Here is a general introduction to what is included in a Yale financial aid award.

  1. Estimated Cost of Attendance: Tuition, room, board, books, travel expenses and personal expenses for one Yale student for one full academic year.
  2. Gift Aid: The Yale Scholarship, and any government or external awards. Gift aid does not need to be repaid.
  3. Estimated Net Cost: The amount a student and his/her family is expected to contribute towards the cost of a Yale education. Yale will calculate this number every year based on the information provided in a financial aid application.

Estimated Cost of Attendance - Gift Aid = Estimated Net Cost

Options to Pay Net Cost

The Estimated Net Cost determines the Expected Family Contribution. Yale suggests that students and their families meet the Expected Family Contribution with these components:

  1. Parent Contribution:The amount a student’s parent(s) or guardian(s) are expected to contribute. The amount is dependent on a family’s income and assets. Many lower-income families will have a Parent Contribution of $0.
  2. Student Employment:The amount a student should anticipate contributing from term-time employment. For first-year students the suggested amount is $2,850 per academic year. For upper-level students the suggested amount is $3,350 per academic year.
  3. Student Summer Income:The amount a student should anticipate contributing from summer-employment income. For first-year students the suggested amount is $1,600. For upper-level students the suggested amount is $2,600.
  4. Student Asset Contribution:The amount of students’ own financial assets that they are expected to contribute. For students without any financial assets, the Student Asset Contribution will be $0.

Students and their parents work together to determine the right strategy for paying the net cost. Funds from outside merit-based scholarship awards can be used to reduce or eliminate the Student Employment and Student Summer Income.

Loans are not included in Yale’s financial aid awards, but students and parents may opt to take advantage of their eligibility for education loans as an alternative route to paying their net cost.

Understanding Expected Family Contribution (EFC)

The Expected Family Contribution is not the amount that will appear on a Yale term bill. Rather, it is an estimate of the total Net Cost a family will pay to cover a student’s estimated expenses for one year, including indirect costs such as books and personal expenses. 

Yale calculates the Expected Family Contribution through a holistic review process. As part of this process, Yale use a formula that considers the following:

  • Parents’ income
  • Parents’ assets (cash, savings, home equity, other real estate and investments)
  • Family size
  • Number of children attending college
  • Student’s expected income from summer and term-time jobs
  • 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.

How to Apply for Aid

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 Undergradaute Financial Aid 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. Applicants from low-income families with few assets automatically receive a fee waiver when completing the CSS Profile.
  3. Signed copies of the parents’ 2017 federal tax returns submitted through the College Board’s Imaging and Documentation Service

There is no deadline to apply for aid, but Yale strongly recommends submitting these documents before March 1 to ensure that, if admitted, a student has an award letter in time to make a matriculation decision by May 1.

Affordable. For Everyone.