How Need-based Financial Aid Works

Yale determines financial need by subtracting a family contribution from the cost of attendance, which includes tuition, room, board, books, personal expenses and travel. Yale meets 100% of demonstrated financial need.

Cost of Education

The cost of attendance used in the financial need calculation includes direct and indirect expenses. In addition to the tuition, room and board for which you will receive a bill from Yale, we also include estimated allowances for non-billed expenditures such as books, supplies, travel, and personal expenses. These non-billed costs are standard amounts and the actual amount you spend on these items may be more or less depending on your personal spending habits and choices.

Cost of Attendance 2015–2016

  Tuition and fees $47,600
+ Room $  8,200
+ Board $  6,400
+ Books and personal expenses* $  3,525
  Cost for one academic year $65,725
*Includes the $125 voluntary student activities fee


Expected Family Contribution (EFC)

The Student Financial Services Staff carefully analyzes the documents required for an aid application and calculates a family contribution based on federal and institutional methodology. The formula that we use measures the family’s ability to contribute toward college costs and expects a contribution from both natural parents regardless of their current marital status. Needs analysis is a complex procedure. When you file the CSS Profile, Yale will receive an estimated calculation of your family’s expected contribution toward the college costs. We will review this estimate and may make adjustments according to Yale’s policies and any additional information or special circumstances that you may submit. The calculation considers factors such as:

  • Parents’ total income, both taxable and non-taxable
  • Parents’ assets (cash, savings, home equity, other real estate and investments)
  • Family size and number of children attending college

In addition to a parent contribution, the Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) also includes a student contribution, which consists of a contribution from a student's own assets, if appropriate, along with a student income contribution from summer earnings which is standard for most undergraduate students.

If you are required to complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), you will receive a Student Aid Report that includes an estimate of your federal expected family contribution. This estimate acts as a guide to your eligibility for federal grants, subsidized loans and state grants.

Student Self-Help

Self-help is the first portion of every student's need-based financial aid award and consists of a term-time job.

Financial Need = Cost of Attendance - Expected Family Contribution

To calculate financial need, the sum of the parents' and student's contribution is subtracted from the cost of attendance. The difference is the "demonstrated financial need" and is the basis of all financial aid awarded to any Yale student.

Estimated Cost of Attendance
Tuition* $47,600
Room and Board* $14,600
Travel Expense** $     750
Books/Personal Expenses*** $  3,525
Total Estimated Expenses $66,475
Expected Family Contribution
Parent Contribution $10,000
Student Income Contribution**** $  1,625
Student Asset Contribution $     250
Total Family Contribution $11,875
Sample Financial Aid Award
Yale Scholarship $51,750
Self-Help***** $  2,850

* The tuition and room and board figures are the undergraduate rates for 2015–2016.
** The allowance for travel is based on the student's home address.
*** Personal expenses include the $125 voluntary student activities fee.
**** For 2015–2016, the standard minimum contribution is $1,625 for freshmen and $3,050 for sophomores, juniors, and seniors.
***** For 2015–2016, the self-help level is $2,850 for freshmen and $3,350 for sophomores, juniors, and seniors.

If you expect to receive scholarships from outside agencies, benefits from a government agency such as the Veterans Administration or from your parent(s) employer, these must be reported to Student Financial Services and they will be included as a resource. Outside scholarships cannot be used to replace a part of your parent contribution.