Money and Class at Yale University

Related to my post earlier today about class issues at Duke University, a reader sent me a link to the November issue of The Yale Daily News Magazine, which examines this issue at its campus in detail.

David Truong ’14, who is not in a fraternity, understands what that awkwardness is like. Both his parents are blue-collar workers: his mother works in a Texas factory and his father is a cashier. He said that when he tells new friends what his parents do, the typical response is “Oh, cool.” Afterwards, there’s a lull.

“People just don’t know how to respond,” he said. “It’s not insulting, they’re just unfamiliar.”

And this from another student:

“Talk, talk, talk,” he said, leaning forward on a Cross Campus bench. “What is talk, if you’re not going to act upon it?


10 Comments / Post A Comment

Allison (#4,509)

do college students ANYWHERE, even Yale, really pay $17 for a bottle of wine?

Penelope Pine (#2,808)

@Allison is $17 a lot for a bottle of wine?

squishycat (#3,000)

@Penelope Pine Not really, but there is certainly less expensive wine (some of which is pretty good, though I’ve never had anything that cost less than $10 that I would describe as “good”).

Allison (#4,509)

@squishycat right, I’ve just never met a college student who cares about “good”.

Catface (#1,106)

There’s something in the article about the FSY (summer/ramp-up program for incoming poor students) then a mention of a “$1300 Macbook Pro, ubiquitous around Yale seminar tables, [that] costs nearly half of the [FSY] student income contribution.” Does this suggest that Yale’s idea of giving these students a leg up is to provide them with $1500 spending money per year? If yes then this is garbage, an insult. In some majors that will pretty much cover textbooks. GIVE them textbooks and laptops, give them access to counselors, set up a program to get them into the kind of internships they don’t know how to interview for and perhaps have never heard of, create a fund that will pay for their intramural sports fees and research trips and semesters abroad. Talk is cheap indeed. Yale’s endowment is huge, and I bet it would be easy to get corporate sponsors to sign on for this and get their names all over it. I bet students would also be amenable to paying Yale back x percentage of their post-college income for y years in return for the benefit.

I am not positive I’m reading this correctly, but if I am: $1500?! Yale, you are (still) a bunch of turds.

squishycat (#3,000)

@Catface You’ve read it incorrectly. The “student income contribution” is the minimum amount that every student is expected to be able to pay towards their tuition. It can come from any source (like, say you win an outside scholarship, you can use it to pay that and Yale doesn’t hold it against you financially), and is folded into the expected family contribution. Basically, Yale will cover your tuition but they will only make up the difference between expected family/student contribution + work-study and Yale’s tuition. (

questingbeast (#2,409)

@Catface The Macbook line is in a different paragraph from the FSY bit and doesn’t have anything to do with it; you’ve misrepresented the line by adding the initials in square brackets. And where do you get $1500 anyway? That’s not double $1300.

Catface (#1,106)

@questingbeast I didn’t mean to misrepresent — I apparently read the text incorrectly; since I was quoting a piece of it I tried to show better *how* I was reading it (which was: incorrectly). I meant the $1500 as an approximation, since I was equating $650 with “nearly half” of some amount. So I meant no malice, I just made a mistake, which here you see me copping to cheerfully. I think a reasonable person could have assumed that material in consecutive paragraphs of a narrative was related — you may disagree.

@squishycat Oho, now I get it. Thank you for the polite and informative correction. For the record I have not been disabused of my sense that the FSY program sounds like small beer for such a rich and well resourced institution as Yale. I’d like to see it turned up to 11.

@Catface As someone who went to Yale and received a nice chunk of financial aid, I find this very interesting. I graduated in 2011, and my group of friends was very diverse in terms of socioeconomic backgrounds. It ranged from someone whose parents did not speak English and had spent their lives working double shifts at blue collar jobs, to someone whose family lived on a vineyard–they had enough land that his divorced parents still both lived on the property, in separate houses. I think Yale does a lot more for students in need than people realize (like helping extremely poor students from Africa buy winter clothes). Also, the minimum wage for on campus jobs was around $12 when I was there, so it’s pretty easy to make enough money to have a full academic and social life.

As for the specific things you brought up in your comments, Yale actually does a really great job of taking care of most of those. Students whose entire tuition is covered are also getting supplemental money to buy textbooks, laptops, etc. Everyone has access to counselors, and they actually have programs for internships all around the country that only Yale students can get. There are no intramural sports fees, and so many grants/fellowships available that it’s pretty easy to get money for a research trip. Your regular financial aid still applies to semesters abroad (whatever % of your tuition they are usually paying, they also pay for your semester abroad), and you actually get additional money when you go abroad for travel expenses (flights, food, etc). They will also give your regular financial aid % towards a summer experience abroad, so if you have your full tuition covered then you can do a summer study abroad or summer internship abroad and have it covered in full.

So yeah, sorry for the super long comment! I just think one of the best things about Yale is how well they cover everything for students in financial need. That article is more about the culture and I know nothing about the FSY, but I think Yale is pretty great in the financial support department.

TARDIStime (#1,633)

Crying at the cost of the round trip ticket to Paris – Mr TARDIStime and I are looking at paying $1800 pp return next year when we go. CHECK YOUR NORTHERN HEMISPHERE PRIVILEGE! :((((((((((

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