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Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

 What if I have been selected for Federal Verification?

Follow the directions on our Federal Verification site. 

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Who should apply for financial aid?

All students who anticipate needing financial assistance should file an aid application within the stated deadlines prior to the upcoming academic year.  Families interested in loan options only should complete the application materials as well. 

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What is the "family contribution"?

Although students and parents are primarily responsible for college costs, we know that each family's situation is unique and, often, complex. Our goal is to determine a realistic expectation from each family, based on federal regulations and Dartmouth's own policies. This expectation includes a parents' contribution, a student contribution based on prior year earnings or a Dartmouth's standard contribution by class, and a portion of the student's savings and assets. The College uses the Federal Methodology need analysis formula to determine eligibility for federal funds. In measuring need for Dartmouth scholarship assistance, the Financial Aid Office will review both the impact of home equity plus the family's assets in determining an equitable family contribution.

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What can admitted students do if they are not happy with their financial aid award?

The student should first contact the Financial Aid Office. In many cases, more information from the student or from his/her family, including copies of better packages from other schools, will result in award adjustments consistent with a fair and equitable treatment of all applicants. The Financial Aid Office will talk with families about financing options such as parent loan plans and monthly payment plans.

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Will my aid change after the first year?

Students reapply for aid each year, submitting updated applications and financial documents. Awards are adjusted to reflect changes in family financial circumstances.  The standard student earnings contribution increases moderately in the upperclass years.

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What do you mean by a financial aid "package"?

When determining if a student is eligible for assistance the Financial Aid Office assesses the family's ability to contribute to educational costs. This "family contribution" includes the parents' contribution, the earnings expectation from the student, and 20 percent per year of the student's original savings and assets unless subsequent years assets are higher. The family contribution is then subtracted from the cost of education to arrive at the student's need. Some students with low need might be offered a package consisting of only job and/or loan assistance. Those with higher need will receive a package with grants/scholarships (which do not have to be repaid), employment, and loans. The amount of a loan a student will receive is dependent upon the family's total income.

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How will my financial aid award be adjusted if I receive an outside award/scholarship?

Students who receive scholarships from external sources can use funds to reduce the loan and/or job portions of their financial aid packages.  If the outside scholarship is greater than the self-help level, the family responsibility can be reduced to the federal level.  Dartmouth scholarship is reduced as the last resort.

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Am I eligible for a state grant at Dartmouth?

The states of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont have state grants that are portable to Dartmouth College. Pennsylvania and Vermont residents should file separate state applications. Those living in the other states with portable grants can file through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

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What about students whose parents are divorced or separated?

Dartmouth's policy for calculating the financial need of students from divorced or separated families is based on the principle that both natural parents have an obligation to contribute to their children's educational costs, despite any legal documents or decrees to the contrary. According to federal regulations, the financial aid information of the custodial household must be used to determine eligibility for federal funds. However, for Dartmouth scholarship purposes, we request additional information from the noncustodial parent to assess overall family support available to a student. A contribution is not expected from more than two parents.

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Can I receive financial aid when I'm living on campus and not taking classes?

Students eligible for Federal Work-Study funding, may be eligible for leave-term Work-Study over their leave term. No other financial aid (scholarship or loans) can be awarded during a leave term. Students who plan to stay in a residence hall during a leave term are responsible for the room charges as well as the mandatory meal plan. Payment is due prior to the beginning of the term.

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Does Dartmouth help students fund unpaid internships or research?

A comprehensive listing of funding opportunities is kept on the Dean of the Faculty's website. Funding is limited and deadlines are strictly adhered.

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Early Decision Questions

Can I enter into Dartmouth's binding Early Decision plan if I am also applying for financial aid?

Yes. If you are planning to apply for financial aid, you should complete the CSS Profile online at

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Will I get less aid if I'm admitted Early Decision?

No. Dartmouth has extensive and comprehensive need-based financial aid policies that enable students to attend regardless of family income. In recent years the financial aid policies have been expanded to reduce or eliminate loans for low income students. All of these policies are in full effect during early admission.

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When will I know what my financial aid package looks like?

If Financial Aid has received your CSS Profile and any other required information by the appropriate deadlines, a tentative financial aid award will accompany your acceptance letter to Dartmouth College in mid-December. Your finalized award will become available after April 1.

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What happens if the financial aid package doesn't seem as though it will work for my family?

You should submit a Request for Financial Aid Review, (which will be included with the award letter), to the Financial Aid Office as soon as possible.  If after the additional review a student and family cannot manage the financial arrangements, Dartmouth routinely releases them from the early commitment so they can apply to other colleges in a timely fashion. In recent years only a handful of Early Decision students have been unable to attend for financial reasons.

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Yellow Ribbon Program Questions

Does Dartmouth participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program? How does that work at Dartmouth?

Dartmouth currently participates fully in the Yellow Ribbon Program (YRP) without limitation on the number of students.

The majority of benefits to these students come from the basic Post 9/11 GI Bill. The Yellow Ribbon Program supplements the tuition & fee benefit portion of the Post 9/11 GI bill to ensure that the full cost of tuition and fees are covered. The YRP agreement certifies that if there is a difference between tuition and fees billed for the term and the amount covered by the Post 9/11 GI Bill, the VA will pay 1/2 of the difference and Dartmouth will cover the remaining 1/2 of the difference for students with 100% entitlement eligibility.

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How does one become eligible for this (both required service and any paperwork)?

The percentage of eligibility is service related. Families should speak with a VA counselor or visit the VA website ( for this information. The student applies to the VA for an eligibility certificate which is submitted to the Registrar. The Registrar then reports to the VA the student enrollment information and charges for tuition and fees.

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If someone's eligible do they automatically get 100% of tuition covered?

If the student has 100% eligibility, the combination of the GI Bill and the YRP would cover tuition and fees. If they have a lower percentage of eligibility (50%, 70%, etc.), that percentage is applied to the GI Bill benefit and they are not eligible for the YRP.

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Does it also cover all other billable expenses?

In addition to tuition and fees, the GI Bill provides a housing allowance (based on E-5 with dependents at the location of the school) and a book & supply allowance of $1,000 (based on full time enrollment). Only the tuition and fee portion of the benefit is paid to the school. The housing and book allowance is paid to the student on a monthly basis and can be used to pay billed charges.

Post 9/11 benefits may be transferred to a dependent, so the child of a Veteran can become eligible. All Veterans benefits are treated like outside scholarships in the determination of eligibility for Dartmouth scholarship funding.

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Last Updated: 5/23/14