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Determining Need

Financial aid at Dartmouth College is awarded based on demonstrated financial need rather than on merit, athletic ability or special talents.  Dartmouth guarantees to meet 100% of each student's financial need during their four years of undergraduate study.  Every student's financial need is reassessed each year, and the financial aid package is adjusted as necessary.

Financial need is the difference between the calculated family contribution and the student's cost of attendance for the academic year.  The process of determining need includes four standard calculations:

  1. The expected "parent contribution" is determined by the Financial Aid Office using financial information submitted by the family to Dartmouth through the College Scholarship Service's PROFILE Application and the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), verified with tax information.
  2. Using information on the PROFILE and the FAFSA, the Financial Aid Office determines the expected "student contribution".  This figure is based upon the personal savings accumulated by the student and a standard contribution from summer earnings (First-Year Students) or leave-term earnings (Renewal Students).
  3. A student budget is determined, accounting for the direct costs of attending Dartmouth as well as book purchases and other indirect costs.  (See the "Cost Of Attendance")
  4. The difference between the student budget and the family contribution (parent contribution plus student contribution) is the student's demonstrated financial need.

Student Budget - Family Contribution = Demonstrated Financial Need

Net Price Calculator

We have developed a tool to help families estimate their expected family contribution.  At this time, our Net Price Calculator can only estimate family contributions for U.S. Citizens and Permanent Residents.  The calculator applies to first year students (with total incomes under 200K).  The calculator is not accurate for returning students.

Special Circumstances

In addition to the financial data required of all students and their families, some families submit information about special circumstances such as unusually high medical expenses or significant expenses of some other kind.  The Financial Aid Office will review this information along with the required data when determining the family contribution.  Families are welcome to submit any information about a particular family circumstance they believe will impact their ability to afford a Dartmouth education.

Last Updated: 6/22/11