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 $70,000 per year; the average Yale need-based scholarship is over $50,000. 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 Share 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 Share, 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.

Yale’s estimate of what a student could earn from wages earned during the academic year and summer. For more information, including the amounts for different types of students, visit our page on understanding the Student Share or our Student Share FAQs.

Outside merit scholarships may be used to cover the Student Share. Students may also choose to take out loans to cover their Student Share For more information, see Scholarships and Grants and Loan Options under Types of Aid and Other Financial Resources.

Part of the Expected Family Contribution.

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

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.