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Yale to meet 100 percent of financial need for Eli Whitney Students

Yale announced the policy change in late November, giving Eli Whitney students the same opportunities to get help as traditional undergraduate students.

Jordan Fitzgerald 01:12, 06 Dec 2021

Personnel Reporter

Yale Daily News

Beginning in the 2022-2023 academic year, Yale will meet 100 percent of the demonstrated financial need of Eli Whitney students — nontraditional students who took time off before enrolling in Yale — for financial aid.

Risa Sodi, assistant dean of Yale College and director of the Eli Whitney Students Program announced the change for the 42 Eli Whitney students at Yale College in a Nov. 23 email. Financial aid packages for Eli Whitney students can now cover the full cost of attendance, including tuition, fees, basic housing, meals — equivalent to on-campus rates — as well as an estimate for personal expenses such as books and travel. Previously, financial aid for Eli Whitney students covered up to tuition costs for the number of classes a student is enrolled in, with additional grants for weekday lunch and housing.

Eli Whitney students who enroll part-time are eligible for the assistance package, and students with dependent children — whether or not they are part of the Eli Whitney Students Program — can still receive childcare benefits. The aid is available for 150 percent of a student’s training period. For example, students who are expected to complete their degree in eight semesters will have 12 terms to complete their degree, allowing them to enroll part-time without compromising their assistance.

“I can now illuminate that part of the brain that is trying to determine how my budget will work from month to month,” says Eli Whitney student Rudy Cordero ’22.

According to Sodi, this is Eli Whitney’s fourth increase in student grants in recent years: A no-fee lunch plan went into effect in 2016, a housing grant was created in 2019, and the childcare allowance began this fall. Associate Director of Undergraduate Admissions Patricia Wei, who also serves as the director of admissions for the Eli Whitney Students Program and the director of veteran outreach, told the news that many of these policies will become obsolete now that the university has committed to 100 percent compliance. need.

Wei further added that the new policy change will provide financial aid to Eli Whitney students that is “equal to any other Yale student’s financial aid policy.”

“I am delighted that Yale is increasing its financial support for these remarkable students,” Dean of Undergraduate Admissions and Financial Aid Jeremiah Quinlan told the news. “We emphasize to all prospective and current students that the mission of the Office of Undergraduate Financial Aid is to ensure that cost is never a barrier between an undergraduate student and their education. This meaningful policy change helps us fulfill that mission to improve.”

Cordero said he recognizes and appreciates the efforts of the Yale government. He first went to college around the Great Recession. After his parents, who had both emigrated from Mexico, were fired and one of them became ill, Cordero decided it was his duty as the eldest child to stop and provide for his family.

Cordero then entered the workforce and received his associate’s degree. He applied to Yale while working for ShoppingGives – an organization that raises money for nonprofits through e-commerce – and will continue to serve as a part-time employee while completing his Yale degree.

“Yale is consistently working to improve financial wealth across the board and you can see it in the program’s history over the past 20 years,” said Cordero. “We can see how committed Dean Sodi and Patricia Wei are to this program and to making sure Elis has a real Yale experience and that access to financial aid doesn’t stand in the way of that.”

Nevertheless, Cordero emphasizes that there is always room for improvement. He pointed out the clause that Eli Whitney students can use their help for 150 percent of their allotted term, explaining that the provision confused him at first — though he was able to talk to Wei later to clarify — especially in context. of the COVID-19 -19 pandemic, which is currently peaking again.

Cordero, who joined Yale last year when classes were taught online, said all undergraduate students — in the Eli Whitney program, at Yale and around the world — are part of a “COVID classroom” that requires more flexibility. when it comes to deadlines.

Wei, who is “enthusiastic” about the policy change, said the 150 percent deadline is intended to preserve the freedom Eli Whitney students have to enroll part-time.

According to Sodi, Cordero’s overall positive response was typical. She explains that the reception has been ‘positive’, but that students have questions about their own individual cases. To clear up any confusion, the Office of Undergraduate Financial Aid will host a Q&A session during the reading week.

Cordero said he didn’t want to speak on behalf of the entire “close-knit” and “diverse” Eli Whitney cohort.

“There is a common misconception that we all fit into a common bubble,” he explained. “There is either a misconception that we are all a group of entrepreneurs or that we are all a group of veterans or that we are all a group of parents.”

Really, Cordero said, those in the Eli Whitney cohort are students just like any other college student. They are slightly older, the average age of an Eli Whitney student hovers around 30.

Wei echoed Cordero’s sentiment.

“It’s a really interesting and diverse group of adult students who contribute immensely to the discussion inside and outside the classroom,” she said. “I think they are highly valued members of the student community and we would love to have more of them.”

In an Oct. 24 email on “Progress in Building a Stronger and More Inclusive Yale,” university president Peter Salovey said Yale is working to build a more robust classroom of non-traditional students. The email followed a 2020 commitment to expand the Eli Whitney and transfer student program.

Since then, Wei and the Office of Undergraduate Admissions have focused on recruiting more non-traditional students. This effort has included hosting virtual information sessions and college scholarships, developing connections with community colleges, and joining the Transfer Scholars Network, which connects high-performing community college students with prestigious institutions such as Yale.

Sodi added that the Eli Whitney cohort has expanded by nearly 150 percent in the past five years, and that last year’s cohort was the “largest in recent memory.” She said the program’s growth made it “an optimal time” to increase financial aid for Eli Whitney students.

Wei confirmed the topicality of the enrichment of financial aid.

“Partly because of our commitment and President Salovey’s commitment to enroll more community college students, more students in the Eli Whitney program, and more experienced students, it was important to improve our financial aid program,” Wei explains.

The Eli Whitney Program began in 2008 as a renewal of Yale’s special student program.


Jordan Fitzgerald edits for WKND and writes about admissions, financial aid and alumni. She is a junior at Trumbull College majoring in American history.

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