“My first year I received enough scholarships from both my high school and local community to not have to have worked a job which was amazing as I got to spend my first year exploring and fearlessly participating in all the extracurriculars I was genuinely interested in. For me this meant I was able to join an acapella group, prepare taxes for low-income families through VITA, and help low-income high school students through the college application process through my own non-profit. I know a lot of my friends have had to work a job on campus which limited their opportunities here on campus. Not having to work to pay my SIC allowed me to focus on my academics, and as a first year from a low income high school, I had time to focus on the difficult transition to Yale and do well academically. Scholarships are much harder to come by as a rising sophomore, and I was planning on saving up to pay my SIC through my summer job as a lifeguard. Obviously, I can’t lifeguard through zoom, what am I supposed to do, put people in breakout rooms if they start drowning? My step-dad also recently got laid off due to the COVID-19 pandemic which means my mom’s income is my family’s sole source of income, trying to help me pay my tuition and support our family. This makes me feel anxious and it means that I must take on a summer job, but even then, these jobs are difficult to come by. I know that, even with a summer job, it won’t be enough to offset my step-dad being laid off. COVID-19 has led to many families being laid off which affects many students at Yale, specifically those who receive partial financial aid and are expected to pay the same amount for tuition that they’ve paid every year. The SIC makes Yale even more inaccessible, especially during an international pandemic, forcing low income students to sacrifice precious time to work to remain on campus. If Yale wants to focus on diversity and accessibility, then how can you excuse making low income students have to work a job once we get here?”

Michael Sanchez, he/him/his, 2023, Berkeley