Yale Daily News
On Tuesday, the Yale College Board and the Financial Aid Working Group hosted an information session to answer student questions about the financial aid renewal process for the 2021-22 school year.
The event, held via Zoom, was moderated by ’22 Angela Avonsi, a student member of the YCC Financial Aid Task Force, which seeks to ensure transparency of financial aid policies at Yale University. Scott Wallace-Guides, Director of Undergraduate Financial Aid, gave a brief overview of the Financial Aid renewal process before answering students’ questions anonymously submitted. Associate Director of Financial Aid Alex Morrow and Associate Director of Financial Aid Travis Kohn and Tony Applegaard were also available to answer questions through the chat feature of the webinar.
“I really wanted to host this event because I want students to see the Financial Aid Office as a place where students can get their questions answered, in a stress-free environment,” said Avonsi. “I think information sessions like this are very interactive and really help to normalize and demystify the financial aid process.”
The Financial Aid Working Group is a seven-member student body that meets regularly with members of the Financial Aid Office to discuss potential reforms to the university’s financial aid policies, according to Director Sami Landino ’21.
Avonsi said the idea of hosting an information session was developed at a meeting of the Financial Aid Working Group. However, Wallace-Guides has been interested in hosting an interactive financial aid event to help clarify the financial aid renewal process “for some time,” according to Avonce.
“This idea didn’t come from Scott because he thought there were certain things that people specifically struggle with,” Landino said. “This was more like an all-out session. Whatever people wanted to clarify, Scott was here to help.”
Wallace-Juedes kicked off the event by going over the timeline for the financial aid renewal process, stating that the deadline for returning students to submit financial aid applications to the Financial Aid Office is May 9.
Although there is no penalty for submitting an application after this deadline, Wallace Guedes urged students to submit their applications before this date.
“The reason for this deadline is that we have time to review your application, review things that may be new in your application from year to year, have a financial aid offer prepared for you and send it in in a timely manner so you can submit some decisions about Funding for the next semester.
Wallace-Guides also noted that this deadline applies only to US citizens and permanent residents. International students are not required to re-apply for a financial aid assessment, although Wallace-Guides said they may choose to do so if their family’s financial situations change significantly over the course of the school year.
The General Financial Aid Application for Returning Students requires a Free Application for Federal Student Aid, a College Scholarship Service Profile, signed copies of all 2019 tax returns for both the student and their parents and the Yale Application for Undergraduate Financial Aid.
According to Wallace-Juedes, primary reasons for changing a student’s financial aid award between years include a sibling’s entry or departure from college studies, changes in a parent’s income, the student no longer receiving an external scholarship or changes in the assets of either parent or student.
During the information session, Avonce and Wallace-Juedes encouraged students to contact the Financial Aid Office directly with questions about the financial aid process.
Avonsi noted that the financial aid process can be particularly confusing for first-generation low-income students.
“It’s kind of a natural instinct for me to try to figure things out on my own and not have access to support at all. And I know a lot of FGLI students can connect,” Avonsi said. “I hope the students will exclude from this information session that there are friendly faces in the Financial Aid Office who care about us and want to support us, no matter how big or small our questions are, and that we don’t have to try to sort things out ourselves.”
Students can email firstname.lastname@example.org with questions about financial aid or make an appointment with an online financial aid counselor.
Lucy Hodgman | email@example.com