Shaking the Guilt
When I first heard of Yale’s financial aid policies, the information the university sent me said that if my family’s income was under $65,000 per year, the university would not expect them to pay for my college education. I saw “$0” on emails and brochures targeted towards high school students in situations like mine. I thought that going to Yale would be a way for me to access educational opportunities my parents never dreamed of without burdening them with costs they could not afford. Unfortunately, my perception of Yale as an institution at which I could have a meaningful academic and personal experience equal to that of wealthier students, with no cost to my family, is not the reality. My family refuses to make me work while at Yale because they want me to be able to focus on my academic and extracurricular interests that define my educational experience. To cover the student income contribution, we split it five ways: both of my parents, each of their parents, and I contribute equal parts to the student income contribution. I appreciate my parents’ and grandparents’ sacrifice because it allows me to spend my time at Yale doing the things I find most valuable, but I cannot shake the guilt I feel for taking money that they could spend taking care of my three younger brothers or saving for their financial security in retirement. In addition to the unjust financial obstacle to success at Yale, the student income contribution has made me feel ashamed for trying to make the most of my short time at this university.