My challenge to President Levin's to respond to our agenda for financial aid reform is on-line here:
Last semester, I had the chance to ask President Levin to explain the "philosophy of co-investment" he often references when confronted by internal and external pressure for meaningful financial aid reform. I was disappointed to hear Levin reiterate his argument that the burden of work and debt that Yale currently imposes on students and families is for their own good. This burden, Levin asserted, makes students invested in their own education and parents in the education of their children. Levin went so far as to cite a study by Yale's Child Study Center demonstrating the importance of parental involvement in children's lives as justification for not adopting Harvard's policy of requiring no contribution from families making under $40,000 a year, a policy he derided as a "publicity stunt." Low-income students choosing between Yale and peer institutions already know that Harvard has gone the extra mile to expand the diversity of its student body. Levin is doing Yale no favors by publicly suggesting that the University's insistence on charging students for their education is only for their own good to give them something to bond with their parents over. The same "This hurts us more than it hurts you" attitude lurks behind Yale's justifications of the current required student contribution of over $4,000 dollars each school year. Administrators have argued that such work, which for many students amounts to 20 hours a week, provides stimulating opportunities for students while giving them the satisfaction of contributing to their own education. Yet no Yale administrator has proposed imposing such a work requirement on students not on Yale financial aid in order to help them better appreciate their education or expressed concern that such students are taking their education for granted. Yale administrators have not suggested to those of us not bound to make a student contribution that the most gratifying pursuits to squeeze into our schedules include working in the library. Rather, freshmen are encouraged at every Convocation to plunge into and take over the reigns of extracurricular opportunities. The implications of a University in which half of the student body is directed to spend up to 20 hours a week working and the other half is directed to spend it running organizations are deeply unsettling for social integration in our community.
Yale folks: Sign our petition for financial aid reform here.


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