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Yale announces financial aid changes: plan will make Ivy League School more accessible.

It was a scene reminiscent of another era. More than 150 Yale University (Conn.) students marched outside the Office of Undergraduate Admissions in late February while inside 15 students locked themselves inside an office for an eight-hour sit-in protesting the school's financial aid policies.

In the days that followed, Yale President Richard Levin announced sweeping changes in the university's financial aid program, Levin had already announced that changes were in the works for the program at an open forum two days before the protest, but some observers believe that media attention from the protest may have hastened his announcement.

"We wanted to signet that we're serious about access," Levin told reporters.

Yale will now match Harvard University's (Mass.) policy of reducing contributions from families that earn less than $60,000 per year. Last year Harvard decided to provide full aid to students with a family income under $40,000. Yale's undergraduate tuition, room, board and other fees, cost about $41,000 a year. About 40 percent of Yale undergraduates receive financial aid. Yale has guaranteed that it will not require contributions from families that earn less than $45,000 per year.

Other elite schools have made similar changes recently. For example:

* The University of North Carolina no longer requires students from families of four earning $37,000 or less to take out any loans to cover school expenses.

* Rice University (Texas) has a similar plan to UNC but sets the income level at $30,000.

* For the last four years, Princeton University (N.J.) has offered grants rather than loans for its low-income students.

And, white it may not have had any bearing on Levin's announcement, recent news reports also show that Yale's application rates have dropped slightly. Applications decreased by 1.2 percent, from 19,675 applications last year to 19,430 applications this year. Both Princeton and Harvard, on the other hand, point to record increases in applications over the last year. Princeton received 16,077 applications, a 17 percent increase from last year, white Harvard received a record high of 22,717 applications, a 15 percent increase in applications. Both schools have attributed part of that increase to their financial aid programs.
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Title Annotation:In The News
Publication:University Business
Date:Apr 1, 2005
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