Yale Shrinks Graduate Programs to Save Money

Yale University plans to shrink its incoming class of graduate students by up to 15% as part of an effort to save $50 million in the upcoming academic year. The cost-cutting is a response to a $150-million deficit created by a 29% plunge in its endowment during the recession. Additional steps, announced yesterday by President Richard Levin in a letter to faculty and staff members, include freezing some faculty salaries, "consolidating" services like human resources and information technology, and adjusting thermostats to 68°F in the winter and 75°F in the summer.

Levin said that Yale will boost stipend support by 2% for students in their first few semesters. Research grants pick up the tab after that, explains Steve Girvin, deputy provost for science and technology at Yale and a professor of physics and applied physics.

A Yale graduate department typically enrolls 20 to 30 new students a year. Two or three fewer graduate students per department will mean fewer research assistants from which professors can choose down the line, Girvin says. "It's not the direction that we want to go, but it's necessary in the current financial climate," Girvin says. Witold Skiba, an associate professor of physics and the director of graduate studies for the physics department, worries that "if [the cut] persists for several years, it might start affecting research."