Divinity pupils advocate for removing of board cost

Citing equity troubles, Yale Divinity School learners are talking out against the obligatory $1,250 board fee.

Employees Reporter

Vaibhav Sharma, Image Editor

Each individual Learn of Divinity and Learn of Arts in Faith college student at the Yale Divinity Faculty is at the moment needed to spend the school’s once-a-year board payment, prompting criticism from some pupils this earlier summer months. 

Tuition and service fees at the Divinity College for the 2021-22 educational yr total $30,892 — which includes the board charge of $1,250, which is intended for use in Yale eating facilities and the Divinity Refectory, a cafe within YDS. Having said that, college students have not long ago spoken out from the cost, declaring that it perpetuates racial and economical inequalities on campus. A person of those people learners, Ryan Arrendell DIV ’23, structured a petition over the summer titled “Free Our Coins” that called on YDS to make the board charge optional.

“We feel it is a extremely fair check with or ask for to have the board rate made optional because we recognize that some students do like to have the advantage of having to pay a payment upfront and becoming capable to have that regular accessibility to food by means of the Refectory or all through campus, but we also identify that other college students do not have the luxurious of being capable to pay for a payment that is genuinely imposed on them,” Arrendell explained to the News. “We believe asking to make the payment optional is not an unreasonable request at all.”

In an August 12 electronic mail to Arrendell written in response to the petition, YDS Dean Gregory Sterling reported that the board expenses ended up required to keep the Refectory open, that generating the board charge optional would mean increased tuition and that YDS is addressing affordability all round at the school.

The petition outlines how pupils of coloration, females and international students are disadvantaged monetarily and are typically much less equipped to manage the rate.

The Yale Divinity College Pupil Governing administration e-board despatched the Information a statement in guidance of Arrendell’s petition.

“The YDSG e-board and other elected officials are in solidarity with the YDS learners trying to find to conclude the necessary board charge,” the YDSG board wrote in a statement to the News. “As an ever-altering establishment, we recognize that this present-day university student body’s desires are unmet. The board price areas an unequal burden on pupils with financial hardships and individuals compelled to are living off-campus thanks to a lack of obtainable housing.”

The YDSG board stated they are wanting to move forward with ending the mandatory board fee for the 2022-23 fiscal year.

The YDS money support site affirms that the board fee cannot be waived. Even so, the internet site also says that students who are “hired by the University to serve as residential graduate affiliates and who obtain a University board prepare as part of their compensation” are exempt from paying the cost.

“I have a past master’s degree, as effectively as a bachelor’s degree, so I have $85,000 in college student mortgage financial debt, and so that’s what I’m coming into divinity faculty with,” Arrendell said. “So I’m doing my ideal to prevent taking out any college student financial loans to not add to my personal debt. With Black college students, it is statistically proven that we gain a lot less revenue even by obtaining advanced degrees. We’re not supplied the exact same fascination fees, there is just so numerous discrepancies and disparities in conditions of what we’re in a position to gain even with a graduate diploma from a faculty like Yale.”

Arrendell stressed that systemic inequalities are nonetheless “very present realities” for college students of color, and that many Black and brown divinity learners even now have economic needs remaining despite the school’s scholarships.

She included that, no matter of students’ financial circumstances, the necessary board price does not give college students with the autonomy they believe that they should really be afforded. In accordance to Arrendell, students did not have to shell out the board payment all through the 2020-21 academic calendar year for the reason that they have been not on campus due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As this sort of, she mentioned she became involved with advocacy about producing the board payment optional when it was reinstituted for the present calendar year.

In an e-mail received by the News, Sterling responded to Arrendell’s petition. 

“The board costs go to Yale Dining and enable make it doable to keep the Refectory open up,” Sterling wrote in the e-mail to Arrendell. “The board expenses do not address all of the costs we provide a balanced subvention to hold the charges down — ordinarily ca. $100k. There are no refunds for the reason that the fees do not protect the charges and do not arrive to the University. In some decades, we would have experienced to close the Refectory if not for the board costs. This would have very seriously undermined our efforts to establish group and produced a hardship due to the fact there are no other food items products and services within just a fifty percent-mile.”

In the e mail, Sterling highlighted that affordability is one of his primary plans. He wrote that the faculty has raised close to $40 million to enable YDS students all through his tenure as dean, which has allowed the school to double their economic aid offerings above the previous 9 years. 

Sterling explained that the Divinity Faculty purposefully opted versus such as the board cost in tuition and permitting learners pay out for meals as they chose simply because it would impose a “greater burden” on the college students who do not have total tuition scholarships. He claimed that YDS would have to elevate tuition if the board charge had been optional, but the school would not be able to raise scholarships a comparable amount of money.

“Dean Sterling would only increase that YDS is functioning quite challenging to meet up with the complete tuition prices of all pupils with demonstrated need by upcoming year,” YDS spokesperson Tom Krattenmaker wrote in an electronic mail to the News. “From FY 13-14 to FY 21-22, we’ve been in a position to lessen from $8,400 to $1,500 the tuition bills compensated by college students getting the standard economic help package deal. Conference students’ tuition desires has been and remains our precedence. When we arrive at this purpose, we  will right away turn to living charges.”

The Yale Divinity University now delivers both of those merit and require-primarily based scholarships.

Correction, 9/8: A preceding edition of this post said that YDS tuition was $30,892 for the 2021-22 educational 12 months. In reality, this range contains tuition and other costs these kinds of as the board price, the health and fitness price and a extensive fee. The write-up has been up to date to mirror this.


Julia Brown currently handles the Yale Regulation Faculty, Yale School of Administration and other specialist educational institutions. She is a junior in Jonathan Edwards majoring in Economics & Mathematics and is at first from Princeton, New Jersey.