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.

The Yale Net Price Calculator is a good starting point for exploring what Yale’s need-based financial aid policies would mean for your family. This simple web-based tool can estimate your eligibility for financial aid and generate a sample Yale award in only a few minutes.

This page will introduce some of the specific policies and terminology associated with Yale’s financial aid process. Additional information is available on the Student Financial Services 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.
  • 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 $47,000 for the 2016-2017 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 average parental contributions for who applied for financial aid. Students also make a small contribution.

Annual Income Range

Percentage Who Qualified for Aid (2014-2015)

Average Grant (From All Sources)*

Average Parent Contribution

Number of Families at Yale (2014-2015)





















*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 220 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.

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 freshmen the suggested amount is $2,850 per academic year. For upperclassmen the suggested amount is $3,350 per academic year.
  3. Student Summer Income Contribution:The amount a student should anticipate contributing from summer-employment income. For freshmen the suggested amount is $1,600. For upperclassmen 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 Contribution.

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 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. Applicants from low-income families with few assets automatically receive a fee waiver when completing the CSS Profile.
  3. Signed copies of the parents’ 2016 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.