Understanding Your Award

Your Yale Financial Aid Award and Planning Worksheet includes the following sections:

Your Estimated Cost of Attendance

The Estimated Cost of Attendance on your award letter reflects your personalized version of the Estimated Cost of Attendance. It includes both Direct Costs like tuition and Indirect Costs like books and personal expenses. Some Indirect Costs, such as travel, vary by student.

Because Yale uses estimates for Indirect Costs, your actual costs may be lower or higher. Awards are not adjusted based on actual costs. If you spend less than the estimated amounts listed on your award letter, the money left over is yours to keep and spend as you choose. We highly recommend New Haven pizza!

Gift ​Aid

The Gift Aid section of your award letter shows the grants and scholarships you will receive to help cover your Estimated Cost of Attendance. Your gift aid may include any or all of the following:

Yale’s need-based grant aid for undergraduates, the Yale Scholarship, is a gift and thus never has to be repaid. If a student is awarded financial aid, the Yale Scholarship amount is included on the Financial Aid Award Letter.

The Yale Scholarship can vary from a few hundred dollars to over $50,000 per year; the average Yale need-based scholarship in 2015–2016 was $43,989. For additional statistics, see Affordability. Area Yale Club awards, endowed scholarships, and other gift aid from Yale’s alumni and friends may be used as grants in place of some Yale Scholarship funds.

Gift aid awarded by federal, state, or local government agencies, usually based on criteria such as federal need or city or state of residence. Government grants are generally considered entitlement grants. Examples include federal Pell Grants and Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (SEOG).

Scholarships and other grant aid funded by private companies, employers, or nonprofit organizations. With the exception of employer-funded tuition benefits, most outside scholarships qualify as merit-based awards.

For information on how outside scholarships may affect your financial aid award, see Scholarships and Grants. Selected resources for finding outside scholarships are available under Sources for Outside Aid.

Your Estimated Net Cost

Net cost includes all expenses in your cost of attendance that are not covered by gift aid. For Yale undergraduates, the Estimated Net Cost will always equal the Expected Family Contribution.

Expected Family Contribution and Options to Pay Net Cost

The Expected Family Contribution (EFC) reflects Yale’s assessment of your family’s ability to contribute financially to your education. Your award letter breaks the EFC out into the following parts:

The amount a student’s parent(s) or guardian(s) are expected to contribute toward the entire cost of attendance. The amount is dependent on a family’s income and assets. Many lower-income families will have a Parent Contribution of $0.

Part of the Expected Family Contribution.

Yale believes that both parents have a responsibility to contribute toward their child’s college education, even if they are divorced or separated. For this reason, we require financial information for both parents to generate a financial aid award. The Yale financial aid award letter lists one total Parent Contribution, which a student’s parents may determine how best to meet.

We understand that some families may have extenuating circumstances that would require an exception. Students may petition to have their noncustodial parent’s financial information waived in such cases by submitting a Noncustodial Parent Waiver Petition form with supporting documentation. Submission of a waiver petition form does n​ot guarantee that the noncustodial parent’s requirements will be waived.

The amount a student is expected to contribute from summer-employment income toward educational costs. The standard amounts for the 2017–2018 school year are:

Student Summer Income Contribution
2017–2018
Freshman Sophomore Junior Senior
$1,600 $2,600 $2,600 $2,600

Most non-Canadian international students do not have an expected Student Summer Income Contribution.

Outside merit scholarships may be used to cover the Student Summer Income Contribution if they exceed the Student Employment amount. Students may also choose to take out loans to cover their Student Summer Income Contribution. For more information, see Scholarships and Grants and Loan Options under Types of Aid and Other Financial Resources.

Part of the Expected Family Contribution and of Student Effort.

The amount of students’ own financial assets that they are asked to contribute toward educational costs. Students with financial assets pay 25% of their assets annually. For students without any financial assets, the Student Asset Contribution will be $0.

Part of the Expected Family Contribution.

The amount a student should anticipate contributing financially from term-time employment. The standard minimum amounts for the 2017–2018 school year are:

2017–2018 Student Employment
Freshman Sophomore Junior Senior
$2,850 $3,350 $3,350 $3,350

Earnings from a term-time job are paid directly to the student, and nearly all students use these earnings to cover Indirect Costs such as books and personal expenses. Students work on campus an average of eight to twelve hours a week during the academic year to fulfill their Student Employment expectation. For more information on student jobs, visit the Student Employment website.

Outside merit scholarships can replace some or all of a student’s expected term-time earnings. Students who choose not to work on campus may also take out loans to fulfill their Student Employment expectation. For more information, see Scholarships and Grants and Loan Options under Types of Aid and Other Financial Resources.

Part of the Expected Family Contribution and of Student Effort.

The EFC breakdown shows the most common way families cover the Net Cost of attendance at Yale. However, families have options for covering the Net Cost in other ways. For more information, see Other Payment Options and Resources below.

Estimated Yale Term Bills

This section of your award letter shows your Direct Costs and expected gift aid, giving you an estimate of the amount you will pay directly to Yale prior to the beginning of each term. Remember that the Yale term bill does not include Indirect Costs such as books and travel expenses.

In addition to tuition, room, and board, your term bill may include charges for:

  1. Yale Health Hospitalization and Specialty Care coverage, which you may waive by filling out the Yale Health online waiver form each year if you already have valid and sufficient health insurance coverage
  2. the Student Activities Fee, which is optional and may be waived annually upon request

You can use our sample chart below to estimate more precisely the amount that will be due on your Yale bill for the academic year. You can also use this chart to calculate your expected term bill once your financial aid award has been finalized.

View the calculation chart on line
Download and print a PDF of the calculation chart to use as a worksheet

Other Payment Options and Resources

This section of your award letter lists some potential resources for paying your Expected Family Contribution, including:

Special Notes about Your Award

Please read this section of your award letter carefully. It contains notes about special circumstances taken into account, additional documentation you may need, and situations that could change your award substantially, as well as other important information.