With our Class of 2016 beginning to take shape, I thought it was appropriate to reach out and extend a welcome on behalf of the YLS Financial Aid Office. You’ll find our office tucked in the York St./Grove St. corner of the Law School in M13. In order to get here, you’ll have to pass through one of the Law School’s carved stone archways. But this one has a very vivid depiction of a man with a head in the guillotine and the executioner above (with a big smile on his face no less). Will that be symbolic of your financial aid experiences at YLS? Is there a little foreshadowing going on?
Let me give you all assurances that it will not be. Here is my solemn promise of no beheadings. I do, however, reserve the right to fill the moat outside my office with small alligators. (Yes, there is an actual moat outside our office windows).
Because for us, financial aid at YLS is a very personal process. Our small class size allows us to not only carefully review all the application forms and documents you submit , but also reach out to you directly if we see something that perhaps was done in error or doesn’t make sense. We also recognize that applications and forms may not truly capture unique personal circumstances and as such, encourage you to contact our staff and share those situations that may impact your aid award. And because managing financial aid may be a whole new world for you, don’t ever hesitate to ask the most basic questions related to the application process or the aid award itself.
Our office believes we have an obligation to ensure that our students are “saavy financial aid consumers” – we want you to understand the financial decisions you are making while in Law School, know the options and choices you have, and also leave here with a plan for how those financial decisions you made will then impact your life going forward. That’s why we counsel students not only as they enter YLS but all through their enrollment (and beyond because of our loan repayment assistance program COAP).
All Financial Aid Offices have their own “culture” and ours is to have an open door policy – literally the door in M13 is always open. You don’t have to make an appointment (although it helps), you can drop by and you won’t have to go through a “gatekeeper” to reach either myself or our Assistant Director, if we are available, we will welcome you in and try to help in any way that we can.
Because the real secret is this…I have the open door policy for a very selfish reason. The best part of my day is actually when I get the chance to sit down with a student and chat. Far better than preparing aid estimates on Excel charts or running statistical analysis. It’s those counseling sessions where I get to know our wonderful (and they are) students on a different level than just a paper financial aid application or a tax return. And FYI- we always have a full candy bowl in the Financial Aid Office as another temptation to drop by…just to say hello and grab a handful of chocolate. (Trust me, you may need that sugar rush some days here).
So by way of further introduction, (yes we are indeed real people and not robots processing aid applications) … here are the folks you will come to know in YLS Financial Aid… …Roselyn, our Senior Administrative Assistant, is our office historian having been at YLS for 14 years (she has truly seen it all!) and, more importantly, is the undisputed “Queen of COAP”– our loan repayment assistance program. Kellie, our Assistant Director, came to YLS after spending 18 years at Yale Student Financial Services (so she is a great resource for dealing with that office on billing and loan issues) and now, in addition to making aid awards, also coordinates our Summer Public Interest Fellowship program. Fun fact about Kellie…she is an avid gardener and baker- two indispensable skill sets for the workplace! And myself, Jill, the Director, a relative newbie to YLS having joined the staff in 2011- returning to financial aid after a few years away in the student services field because I actually (gasp!) missed financial aid. Want to strike up a conversation with me (aside from talking about financial aid)- bring up college basketball (I live for March Madness!), cats (my husband fears I am well on my way to being the “crazy cat lady” of the neighborhood) or yoga (Om!) .
So now that you know us, it’s time for us to get to know you. We look forward to the opportunity to email, talk and meet as you begin and move through the financial aid process.
Just a reminder that we have a new website “ How to Apply for Financial Aid- New Admits” which will hopefully walk you through the aid award process. And this is the time when you should be submitting your FAFSA and Need Access application if you wish to receive a provisional financial aid award letter.