Got Into Yale? How to Pay for Your Ivy League Education Without Student Loans
August 21, 2014

One of the amazing upsides of Yale is that they don’t look at students as if they had price tags attached. Former President of Yale Richard C. Levin said, “We want to attract the most promising students from all economic backgrounds to Yale.” This means that if you’re lucky enough to get into Yale, you’ll likely have fewer problems paying for it than you would at a state school. And by lucky, we mean hard-working, studious and, no doubt, extremely smart. Here’s how to pay for your tenure at Yale.

Yale University

Yale is financially feasible without student loans
Image Source: Flickr Creative Commons User Marc Smith

The admissions policy of Yale doesn’t consider the student’s ability to pay when deciding who to invite into their exclusive club. This is great news for you and, according to’s College Scorecard, this is a great college over and above the excellent education that you know you’ll get. More than 96% of those that attend go on to graduate, the average student loan balance is low at $14,525 and the default rate on loans is less than 2%.

Average earnings for recent grads is nearly $50,000 and monthly student loan payments are between $120-$150, which is very affordable with this wage. So how do you get to this point? Yale offers impressive financial aid options for those whose parents earn up to $200,000 a year.

Parental Contribution Expected
  • Parents earning less than $65,000 can expect 100% financial aid and not have to contribute any money. Students in this category shouldn’t have to borrow any student loans at all.
  • Parents earning $65k-$100,000 can expect nearly as much help and will need to kick in about $4,500 per year. This is easily affordable with federal student loans if needed.
  • Parents earning $100k-$150,000 can expect help but will need to contribute $12,100. Federal loans can’t cover all of this, but parents may be able to kick in the difference.
  • Parents earning $150k-$200,000 can expect help but will be asked to contribute a more significant $25,600. Federal loans won’t cover this.
Student Contribution Expected

Students are asked to kick in a Student Self-Help Contribution of $2,800 per year (as of this year) and can do this easily with an on-campus job of just 10 hours per week. Alternately, a summer job should cover this. This is a very small amount to pay to get a world class education.

Despite the fact that I mention student loans above, Yale doesn’t require students who demonstrate significant financial need to take out loans to matriculate. Some schools automatically include federal student loans in their financial aid packages – Yale does not.

External Scholarship Opportunities

One of the most frustrating things about putting in the time and effort to get scholarships is that most schools use these to reduce financial aid they offer instead of what you have to cover. That doesn’t seem fair – and it’s not. At Yale, any merit-based scholarships you obtain directly reduce the expected student contribution. Pell Grants and any need-based scholarships don’t reduce the student contribution.

Why It’s Worth It to Apply to Yale

If you’ve got stellar grades, top-tier SAT and/or ACT scores but aren’t considering applying to Yale because you think there’s no way you can afford it, you should know that, if you can get in, this school will cost you less than a state school unless your parents are earning big, big bucks. We definitely recommend you apply if you’ve got the grades – it’s worth the $80 (and if you’re on the free lunch program or your family gets some sort of public assistance, you should be able to get this fee waived).

No matter where you go to school, if you have to borrow to attend, you need’s free student loan tool in your arsenal. Be sure to read our blog often for tons of tips on paying for school and dealing with your finances while in college and after you graduate.