Why Support YLS?

  • Academic Excellence and Intimacy are Expensive: Yale Law School’s identity and reputation for academic excellence is inextricably bound to its small size, superb students and faculty, and extensive programs. It must be this way, and without alumni support, Yale Law School would be faced with three choices, all of them ruinous to its mission: vastly reducing its intellectual ambitions; drastically increasing class sizes; or, quite starkly, tripling tuition.
  • Compared to most institutions, Yale Law School is rich—but the YLS experience is expensive to produce and requires great resources. Tuition only covers one-third of the cost of your education. In other words, if you were to pay for the full cost of your education, tuition would be $173,000 a year! The difference is made up each year by contributions from alumni who give to keep Yale Law School what it is and help make your education possible. Now is your opportunity to do the same for the students of tomorrow.
  • The Law School draws on revenue from three main sources: tuition, income from endowment, and gifts for current use. Tuition contributes approximately 33% of revenue, the Law School endowment provides approximately 52% of revenue, and, current use gifts from alumni and friends provide most of the balance of revenue annually.
  • Yale Law School has been very fortunate with the amount of support it has received, from its founding through today, from alumni and friends and has benefited greatly from the successful investment of its endowment. But there is no point at which the School is “too rich” or doesn’t need money. YLS needs tremendous financial resources to produce talented graduates, to remain competitive and attractive to today’s brightest students and to do all that it aspires to do each and every year.
  • Yale Law School is NOT Yale University. The Law School is financially independent from the University and must generate its own revenue—through tuition, income from endowment and alumni support—in order to operate each year. Funds raised by Yale Law School benefit only the Law School.

Why should I give back when I already pay full tuition—or I have student loans to repay when I graduate?

Tuition does not represent the true cost of a Yale Law School education. In fact, because of the continued generosity of all YLS alumni, tuition is only one-third of the actual cost of educating a YLS student. Therefore, even when you pay full tuition—now or by repaying student loans after graduation, YLS significantly subsidizes your education. This subsidy can only be offered through the generosity of past and present donors. YLS was founded on philanthropy and has stayed true to its mission only through the tradition of philanthropic support from alumni. Your gift to the 2017 Graduating Class Gift Campaign makes you a part of the long tradition of giving, and initiates your journey as a YLS alumnus.

How does my comparatively small gift make a difference when some alumni are giving thousands or even millions of dollars?

Do not underestimate the impact of your support and the importance of your participation. Every gift to Yale Law School made by members of the Class of 2017 represents your class’ commitment to the future of the Law School. Last year, Yale Law School received 2,117 gifts from alumni of $100 or less, which totaled $139,159 and 3,959 gifts of $500 or less for a total of $727,352.

Collectively, alumni and student gifts of all amounts add up quickly to make a real and defining impact each year. Without the continued loyalty of our 10,000 alumni, Yale Law School would be forced to: reduce programming, decrease the amount of financial aid/COAP funding available, increase tuition and increase enrollment, all of which would be ruinous to the mission of YLS.

If everyone waited until they had enough money to make a major gift, donations from alumni would be sporadic at best, and daily life on campus would suffer from a shortage of funding. Your participation as a soon to be alumnus demonstrates your support for the university and your appreciation to the donors that helped make your experience what it was. Think of your gift as a vote of confidence in Yale Law School, and a symbolic “thank you” for your experiences.

Why does Yale Law School need a Graduating Students Gift Campaign when the endowment is as large as it is?

Yale Law School is fortunate to have the endowed funds that alumni and friends have contributed. Annual giving is an important complement to restricted funds, which make up the bulk of the Law School’s endowment. The Law School is “endowment driven”, which means that there are strict spending rules in place to preserve the endowment principal and only a small portion of the endowment can be used each year to support the annual budget. Often, the endowment funds are further restricted by the donor as to how they may be spent. Annual, unrestricted support is always needed to fund the innovations required to keep Yale Law School the top legal education institution in the country.

A gift of $25 to the YLS Fund that can be spent immediately has the same impact on the University’s spending as an endowment gift of $500.

There are other causes that need my support more, and where my gift will have a greater impact. Why should I support Yale Law School?

If you are philanthropically inclined, and support other non profits, that is fantastic. Instead of giving only to Yale Law School, or only to another cause, consider making contributions to both. Giving to YLS demonstrates your pride in the Law School. Annual donors help the Law School maintain the highest standard of legal education in the country and educate future leaders in all aspects of society. Think of your annual contribution as an investment in the leaders of tomorrow.