Yale University announced last week that it plans to dig into its
own pockets to expand its support for biomedical research, increase financial
aid for students, and make more of its collections available to the public
without charge. To fund these initiatives, Yale president Richard C. Levin said
the institution will boost the payout from its endowment to $1.15 billion in
2008-2009, up from $843 million this year.
According to the announcement, Yale plans a "major
expansion" of its biomedical research capabilities, which includes establishing
several new research institutes, although the university did not identify the
specific research fields of these new institutes. In October, Yale purchased a
136-acre research campus from Bayer Pharmaceutical Company in nearby West Haven,
Connecticut. The new institutes are expected to be housed at this location.
Yale announced this week the details of its support
for student financial aid, which also comes out of its increased endowment
payout. Families with incomes below $120,000 per year will see the amounts they
need to pay for Yale tuition cut by at least half, while families with incomes
between $120,000 and $200,000 will get their costs reduced by a third. Families
with incomes between $60,000 and $120,000 will pay between 1 and 10% of total
family income, and those with incomes of less than $60,000 will not need to make
any contribution. In December, Harvard and several other elite universities announced a similar program of financial aid.
The university also plans to use its endowment to
expand access to what it calls its "intellectual treasury" by digitizing its
collections and making them available to the public free of charge. In a similar
action, Yale announced last month its Open Courses, where lectures and materials from
seven of its undergraduate courses, including those in astronomy, physics, and
psychology, are made available to the public in digitized form.
Levin said Yale’s endowment experienced
"exceptionally strong investment returns in recent years," which made possible
increasing the payout this year.