Aid, With a Key Caveat
When I received news of my acceptance to Yale I was excited and wary at the same time. I was aware of the prohibitive costs of the top private universities and I realized that without financial aid I would not be able to attend Yale without huge amounts of debt. Yet I still might have attended Yale because it really was my dream school and I put as much work as possible into being accepted. I was dismayed when I saw the initial financial aid offered to my family was virtually nothing, but after a lengthy appeals process I was able to receive a greater amount of aid. Yet this aid came with a key caveat. I would have to fulfill the student income contribution or else I'd incur more costs on top of the tens of thousands of dollars necessary to pay for Yale. Realizing that financial aid was never a guarantee at private colleges I had also applied to several scholarships during my senior year of high school. I was lucky enough to win two of them and I was ecstatic that I’d have less debt since my Yale tuition would be lowered. I did not realize that scholarships first cover the student income contribution and then start to take away from your financial aid award. Despite winning scholarships I ended up paying the exact same amount of money to Yale. I’m still very thankful for these scholarships because I was able to cover the student income contribution. I’m active in the Black Student Alliance, the Black Men’s Union, and the Party of the Left, while also being a Directed Studies student. These extracurriculars require a large time commitment and I can confidently say that I would not be able to participate in these disconnected communities had I had to work the large number of hours necessary to fulfill the student income contribution. I would have likely not participated in Party of the Left since the parties of the Yale Political Union require large time commitments and they are not a home in the same way as groups like the Black Student Alliance are. I’ve seen many people on financial aid have to make choices like this and the result is terrible for the students and for Yale. Certain time intensive groups remain white and wealthy, while students on financial aid are restricted from having a full student experience.