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>  News Releases >   2007 >   May

Maria Laskaris appointed Dartmouth's Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid

Dartmouth College Office of Public Affairs • Press Release
Posted 05/16/07
Roland Adams • (603) 646-3661

Maria Laskaris
Maria Laskaris (Photo by Joseph Mehling '69)

Maria Laskaris, a 1984 graduate of Dartmouth who has served as the College's Director of Admissions for the last 11 years, has been appointed Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid, effective July 1, 2007.

Laskaris will succeed Karl M. Furstenberg, who will retire following 17 years leading Dartmouth admissions and 30 years in the field of college admissions. The appointment concludes a national search that began after Furstenberg announced last fall his plans to retire.

Reporting to the Provost, the dean oversees all operations of Dartmouth's Office of Admissions and Financial Aid as well as the supporting positions of Director of Admissions and Director of Financial Aid.

Laskaris has worked in the College's admissions office since 1987, serving successively as Assistant, Associate and Senior Associate Director of Admissions before becoming Director of Admissions in 1996.

"I am delighted that Maria Laskaris has accepted our offer to become dean," said Dartmouth President James Wright. "She has played an integral role in our admissions success up to this point and I am confident that she will continue to enroll a talented and diverse student body."

Laskaris said, "I am honored to serve Dartmouth as its next Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid. I look forward to working closely with the staff of both offices, faculty, administrative colleagues, students, and alumni to think critically and innovatively about the role admissions and financial aid play in shaping the future of Dartmouth and advancing important College priorities."

Laskaris has played a leadership role in developing recruitment strategies and criteria for admitting students from an increasingly large and diverse pool. In addition to helping manage the process that selects admittees for an entering class of approximately 1,080 each year — from among an applicant pool that has climbed above 14,000 in recent years — she has been the senior officer responsible for all day-to-day aspects of the admissions office and has been responsible for overseeing the office's organization and structure. Her duties include analyzing and interpreting data to help inform strategic planning for recruitment and matriculation efforts. She has also overseen the international recruitment and selection process, and has developed and implemented the print and web-based communication strategies for reaching out to prospective students, secondary school personnel and alumni volunteers.

She is also a well-recognized leader in the admissions field and serves on a number of national committees including the Common Application's Board of Directors and as a Dartmouth representative to the College Board's Diversity and Access Collaborative.

Dartmouth's admissions and financial aid achievements in recent years

During Furstenberg's tenure, Dartmouth's undergraduate applicant pool has steadily grown in size, academic strength, range of talents and diversity. Provost Barry Scherr said, "I would like to take this opportunity to thank Karl Furstenberg for the work he has done over the last 17 years in heading Dartmouth's admissions process. During his time in office he has significantly increased the diversity and the academic profile of the entering classes, and he has served as both a fine colleague and a fine spokesperson for the institution on issues related to admissions and financial aid. We will miss him and wish him well in retirement."

For the class that will enter Dartmouth this fall, the College received the largest number of applications in its history at 14,176 applications — 20 percent more than the number of applicants for this year's graduating class. For the first time women outnumbered men in the applicant pool, with a total of 7,131 women, or 50.4 percent of the applicant pool. (Applications from women have increased by 31 percent over the last four years.) The College admitted only 2,165 students, or 15 percent of the total applicants; the lowest acceptance rate in Dartmouth history.

At present more than half the admittees are expected to matriculate. The group is almost evenly divided between men (50.2 percent) and women (49.8 percent). Students of color make up 33 percent of the anticipated matriculants. The matriculating group also includes Dartmouth's highest percentage ever of international students (9 percent). The matriculants also set a high standard in prior academic achievement, with 90.2 percent coming from the top 10 percent of their secondary school classes, including 31.5 percent who were valedictorians and 10.6 percent who were salutatorians.

In the area of financial aid, Dartmouth is one of only a small number of colleges and universities that maintains a "need-blind" admissions policy whereby the College admits students without taking into account their ability to pay when making admissions decisions, and commits to meeting 100 percent of enrolled students' demonstrated need for a full four years.

More than half of Dartmouth students and their families receive assistance from either the College or outside sources in meeting the cost of attendance, and more than 45 percent of the student body receives scholarship aid directly from the College. Eligibility for aid is reviewed each year, and adjustments are made, as necessary, to assure that the aid package is commensurate with each family's financial need.

Last year, Dartmouth students received approximately $52 million in grant/scholarship aid. In addition, the College administers $11.4 million in loans. Finally, Dartmouth students receive approximately $3 million in scholarships from outside sources, including National Merit Scholarships and similar scholarship programs. Scholarships offered to financial aid recipients in recent years have ranged from $1,000 to over $44,000.

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