Yale Daily News
Due to pandemic-related travel approval delays, some students may receive their international scholarships after their fees for non-Yale summer programs are due, which would require them to pay an amount they might not be able to pay out of pocket.
The Yale ISA program provides eligible first-years, sophomores, and juniors—those with financial aid—a stipend for an international summer experience. This year, however, the process of rolling out those funds has been delayed, which has caused some students stress about funding their summer programs and potentially losing their places.
“I can’t afford $10,000,” one concerned student, who asked to remain anonymous for this article to protect his privacy, told The News. “And it’s good that Yale gives us the ISA award, but I can’t afford it to begin with. The point of getting an ISA is that I don’t have that money. So even if they say they can pay me back, the only way my parents could afford it is to take out a loan.
In an email to The News, Lindsay Lawton — senior associate director of scholarships at Yale’s Center for International and Professional Experience — said funds typically start flowing earlier in the year. In 2019, which was “the last time ISA operated at scale”, the award process began in April.
This year, Lawton said the university’s financial aid office will begin crediting students’ scholarship accounts with their ISA stipends on April 29. Since the distribution of funds is an ongoing process, all funds are expected to be made available by early June, but Lawton says the University cannot guarantee that the money will be available before June.
Another student, who also asked to remain anonymous for privacy reasons, expressed frustration over the delay in receiving his stipend.
“My study abroad program says they can’t defer payment, and they’re not getting any money from Yale yet because I haven’t received my money,” the second student said. “And Yale says they won’t distribute the ISA until early June. The bigger issue is that Yale expects students to be able to pay all billed payments before funds are distributed through the ISA. This is interesting because the ISA is for students who have financial need so there is no reason for them [the University] expecting students to have that money in their bank accounts… to pay those fees, even if they will be reimbursed later.
The schedule for sending ISA funds has been compressed this year due to uncertainties surrounding international travel caused by the pandemic, Lawton told the News.
“This schedule has been compressed a bit for 2022 due to changes to Yale College’s travel policy and the need to review destinations before approving credit,” she wrote. “With the work of Bulldog Days largely behind us, CIPE and UFA staff [Undergraduate Financial Aid] are working as quickly as possible to process the hundreds of applications already submitted, and we expect to start disbursing these funds very soon! However, we cannot guarantee that any particular student’s funds will be disbursed before the beginning of June. »
Lawton said payment for Yale’s Summer Session Abroad programs, the university’s study abroad program, is not due until ISA funds are available. available.
In the case of external programs, however, Lawton explained that students required to pay upfront can write to the financial aid office to explore options.
“We are aware that programs may require students to pay deposits or other fees before funds are disbursed,” Lawton wrote. “In these cases, students may contact UFA by emailing [email protected] to request a financial aid letter from their program explaining the nature and estimated amount of their ISA funding in order to assure the program that the costs will be covered.”
But while the financial aid office may offer a letter to outside programs, the first student told the News that their program has instituted a “deadline” for payment of May 15.
The second student agreed, noting that if he was unable to pay by the deadline, he could lose his spot.
“It’s a big amount of money that limits me and my family, which is why the ISA was so important to me,” said the second student. “And that becomes a problem because I find there might be a risk – I mean, I hope not – but there might be a risk that I can’t go abroad if I can’t not pay this initial payment.”
The first student noted that this experience is especially frustrating for low-income first-generation students because it contributes to a sense of not belonging at Yale.
“Having this as an expectation that I have to pay upfront and then figure it out later is…making me feel a little alienated…like I’m not part of it. [Yale]”, the student told the News.
According to the ISA program website, students can receive an amount up to $15,400, commensurate with their need and the cost of the program. The amount of aid each student receives is the same percentage of the total cost of their program as the percentage they receive in financial aid for their tuition.
Lawton also explained the typical process for accessing ISA funding.
“In order to apply for an ISA, students must first be admitted to a Yale Summer Session Abroad program or approved for credit for a non-Yale Summer Abroad program,” a writes Lawton. “Students then apply for their ISA through the MyCIPE system before May 1. ISA applications are sent to Undergraduate Financial Aid, where their team calculates the award based on the cost of the program and the student’s financial need (percentage of aid), and credits the funds to the account of the pupil. Students then request a refund through SIS and the funds are deposited into the student’s linked bank account.
Students can also calculate the monetary value of their scholarship in advance using the Student Information System.
Lawton recommended that students visit the ISA website for questions about the program.
The Yale Center for International and Professional Experience is located at 55 Whitney Ave.